Five of the top ten largest banks in the world are from China

China economy dips for first time in decades

China’s banking system can trace its roots back all the way back to the tenth century Song dynasty.

Since then Chinese society and politics have changed significantly, going through several cultural and political upheavals in its history.

China’s banking system as we know it today is the most robust and largest banking system in the world. According to data presented by, 5 of the top 10 banks in the world come from China, with the largest being the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China with total assets of $4.9tn.

China’s ‘Big 5’ Banks Accounted For More Than $17tn In Total Assets

The four largest banks in the world in total assets all come from China. Starting from the largest, these are; the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China ($4.9tn in total assets), China Construction Bank Corp ($3.9tn in total assets), Agricultural Bank of China ($3.7tn in total assets) and the Bank of China ($3.6tn in total assets).

Rounding out the top ten list is the Postal Savings Bank of China ($1.4tn in total assets), giving China five representatives in the Top 10 list.

Combined, China’s Big 5’ have a total of $17.6tn in total assets which accounts for almost 70% of the total assets of the entire top 10 list.

5 Other Banks On The Top 10 List Are From Europe

Apart from China’s Banks, the five other banks on the list all come from Europe. Banco Santander from Spain is the leading European Bank with $1.8tn in total assets.

The next two largest banks in Europe, Group BPCE ($1.51tn in total assets) and Societe Generale ($1.5tn in total assets), are from France. Germany’s Deutsche Bank AG is the last European bank on the top 10 list with total assets of $1.45tn.

China’s Largest Banks Are All State-Owned In Contrast With Europe’s Largest Banks

A look at the overall picture of the total assets of the top ten list shows that there is a sizeable difference between the largest banks in China and the largest Banks in Europe.

None of the European Banks holds more than $2tn in total assets while all four of China’s largest banks all hold total assets of more than $3.5tn.

One of the factors that explain the significant difference in wealth between China’s largest banks and Europe’s largest banks is the ownership of these banks.

All five of China’s largest banks on the top 10 list are state-owned while all the European banks are privately owned. This means that the largest Chinese banks act as the main funding source of government projects which always equate to large investments.