China's banking sector has undergone a remarkable transformation since the establishment of the socialist market economy in 1993. This sector, which previously struggled with bad debt, is now home to four of the five largest banks in the world. The orthodox view of reform in China's banking sector evaluates change as conformance with a Western, neoliberal model of banking. This paper argues instead that this reform is best understood as an evolution of institutions that reflect historical patterns of political and economic organisation in China.
Guy Williams is a PhD student at the Centre of Development Studies. His research examines the evolution of China's banking sector since the establishment of the socialist market economy in 1993. As part of his research he interviewed officials from the China Banking Regulatory Commission, which has regulated China's banking sector since 2003. Guy has spent four years studying and working in China.