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ICBC's assets exceed US$1.5t

THE Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the world's largest lender by market value, became the nation's first company to exceed 10 trillion yuan (US$1.5 trillion) in assets.

The bank has boosted its profitability and assets over the past few years, according to a statement yesterday.

The Beijing-based bank, with 16,476 branches nationwide and 112 overseas, has spent about US$6 billion on acquisitions in Macau Special Administrative Region, Indonesia, and South Africa since 2007, as rivals overseas sold assets to shore up balance sheets.

Chairman Jiang Jianqing, who has more than doubled ICBC's profit in the past three years, is contending with the slowest economic growth since 2001 and market turmoil that led to more than US$1 trillion of writedowns and losses at global rivals.

ICBC has reversed course since a government bailout four years ago to become the world's most profitable lender in August, according to Bloomberg News.

''Chinese banks have been growing by leaps and bounds since their restructuring,'' said Cai Rong, a Shanghai-based analyst at Everbright Securities Co. ''Such super-fast growth will come to a halt as the economy slows. The good thing for ICBC is that it was less reliant on loans and asset expansion to generate profits than other Chinese banks.''

The company has a market value of US$185 billion which is US$58 billion more than that of its closest rival, China Construction Bank.


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