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China Gold Awards

Overall best gold bank 2019

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China

Li Baoquan, ICBC.jpg
Li Baoquan, ICBC

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China is regarded as a pioneer among Chinese banks when it comes to developing products and services to help its customers trade and invest in gold and other precious metals, and last year it continued to strengthen its position as the market leader in serving precious-metal clients.

ICBC was the first domestic bank to trade gold on clients’ behalf in 2002, after the Chinese government started deregulating control of the domestic gold market. In 2009, it was the first domestic bank to create a separate business unit to integrate the distribution, trading platforms and management teams for its precious metal products and services. It was also the first Chinese bank to be able to serve a full range of clients (miners, traders or retailers) in the domestic precious-metal sector. These days, what sets it apart from domestic rivals is the range of 500 products in 36 categories that it offers to its precious-metal clients. The department’s general manager is Li Baoquan.

All these achievements have helped China’s biggest bank by assets to maintain steady, rapid growth in its precious-metal banking businesses. Last year’s figures are no exception: the number of precious-metal customers surged 60% from a year earlier, while trading volume and turnover of precious metals at the unit showed compound annual growth rates of 80% and 30% respectively.

Last year, the revenue generated by ICBC’s precious-metals unit alone accounted for as much as 40% of the total market share of China’s four largest state-owned commercial banks (which includes the Agricultural Bank of China, Bank of China and China Construction Bank).

ICBC has long been the largest transaction-clearing service provider for the Shanghai Gold Exchange, clearing Rmb345.5 billion ($50 billion) for the exchange in 2018. It was also the largest gold leaser and the largest brokerage at the exchange in 2018.

Among Chinese banks, ICBC is the most active participant in overseas gold markets: it is a member of the London Bullion Market Association, the New York Mercantile Exchange, the Tokyo Commodity Exchange and the Dubai Gold & Commodities Exchange.

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