President and chairman, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China
Education: Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, BS; Shanghai Jiaotong University, MS.
Career: Jiang'an Banking Office, 1979–; People's Bank of China; Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Shanghai Branch; deputy general manager, Shanghai Municipal Branch; general manager, Pudong Branch, Shanghai; Shanghai City Cooperative Bank, 1995–1997, general manager; Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Shanghai Municipal Branch, 1997–1999, general manager; 1999–2000, vice chairman and executive vice president; 2000–, chairman and president.
Awards: One of the world's 30 best online finance business people, Institutional Investor , 2004.
Address: 55 Fuxingmenmei Street, Xicheng District, Beijing, People's Repulic of China 100032; http://www.icbc.com.cn/e_index.jsp.
■ Jiang Jianqing was president of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), China's largest financial institution. His plan was to make the bank, unknown outside China, as large as Citibank, which was well known internationally. By 2004 ICBC had more than 70 banks worldwide. Jiang's financial prowess was so respected that he was a guest professor at several of China's most highly respected universities, including both of the institutions he had attended as well as the Shanghai International Studies University.
Jiang started his financial career by attending the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics and earning a degree in finance and economics. He went on to earn his master's degree in database administration at Shanghai Jiaotong University. Beginning in 1979 Jiang worked in the banking industry at several institutions, including the Jing'an Banking Office, the People's Bank of China, and the Shanghai Branch of ICBC. Jiang then held a list of prominent positions such as deputy general manager at ICBC Shanghai Municipal Branch and general manager at ICBC Pudong Branch, Shanghai. From 1995 to 1997 he was the general manager of the Shanghai City Cooperative Bank, and from 1997 to 1999 he was the general manager of the Shanghai Municipal Branch of ICBC. In 1999 Jiang became the vice chairman and executive vice president of ICBC, and in February 2000, he become chairman and president.
In 2000 ICBC was the largest bank in China and was ranked tenth in the world by Tier One Capital. The bank was almost unknown internationally, however, and Jiang was eager to change that status. Under Jiang's leadership ICBC expanded outside of China. Despite competition with the older and more established Bank of China, ICBC was the first bank to buy a publicly listed bank outside China. In 2000 ICBC bought the Union Bank of Hong Kong and renamed it ICBC Asia.
China opened its doors to the World Trade Organization in 2001, a move that allowed foreign companies and banks into the country. Many banks were uneasy, but Jiang was optimistic about the change. He saw the higher level of competition as positive for China's banking industry. He told Asia-money , "Competition helps us to raise our standards" (July 2001). Jiang also said that the 30,000 ICBC branches across China should leave the company in good stead for competition. Jiang did not leave anything to chance, however. He planned on improving his ICBC's electronic banking capabilities, creating software to help in the assessment and evaluation of credit risk, enlarging the marketing for consumer loans, and revisiting the bank's target clientele in the hope of expanding that pool. In 2002 China's economy was released from its previous ideological system, and companies started taking a more western approach to commerce. Jiang's duty was to undo the influence that 40 years of socialism had had on ICBC. He made many reforms in an attempt to decrease the company's debt and its nonperforming loans.
In February 2003 Jiang made a deal with Microsoft, asking the software company to help ICBC develop personal online banking services, set up the platform, and make certain that security was high. According to an article on the Asia Africa Intelligence Wire, Jiang said, "The co-operation with Microsoft will help promote the ICBC's information construction, develop its e-banking system, and boost its comprehensive competitiveness" (February 28, 2003).
In June 2003 ICBC made a large coup when it opened a branch in London, England. At that point ICBC had more than 70 branches worldwide. Also in 2003 Asiamoney named ICBC the best domestic bank, citing the bank's profits and Jiang's vision for the future, which was that ICBC become like Citibank. Jiang knew that when it started to expand, ICBC would mainly be a draw for Chinese people living around the world, but he wanted the bank eventually to become one that people everywhere counted on and depended on.
In December 2003 Jiang announced the launch of Banking @ Home, the ICBC personal online banking system developed with help from Microsoft. Banking @ Home offered almost all the services available at branch offices, and Jiang was proud of the system. Jiang believed that by 2006, 20 million customers, approximately 60 percent of the market in China, would be using the online service. The platform implemented a USB key chip, which ICBC developed with Microsoft. As reported on the Asia Africa Intelligence Wire, Jiang said, "I can say that security is guaranteed" (December 19, 2003).
In 2004 Jiang continued to deal with an overload of nonperforming loans left over from the old system. The Chinese government called on banks to rein in financial risks in loan growth. "This is not only necessary for implementing a prudent monetary policy, but is needed to prevent lending risks and ensure stable business growth," Jiang said in a story on the Asia Africa Intelligence Wire (February 12, 2004). Jiang also said that ICBC would be granting $42 billion in new loans in 2004, more than $4.82 billion less than it had in 2003. In addition, the bank did not plan to grant new loans to the steel, aluminum, and cement sectors, which were considered over-heated markets. Chinese banks were learning to be cautious.
Jiang told the press in March 2004 that ICBC hoped to raise its operating profits 10 percent by the end of the year. The company looked mainly to its new credit card program to ensure this outcome. ICBC signed a deal with American Express to issue the first American Express credit card with a Chinese co-brand. Jiang said he felt the company could distribute four million cards by the end of 2014, a figure that American Express called very conservative. Jiang also focused on other intermediary businesses to help boost profits. One of those businesses was banking cards, which ICBC hoped would become a source of growth over the next 10 years.
Mainly because of the success of ICBC's online banking services, Jiang was named one of the world's 30 best online finance business persons by Institutional Investor . He was the only Chinese executive on the list. Jiang also was asked to be a guest professor and doctor's tutor at Shanghai Jiaotong University and a guest professor at Shanghai International Studies University and Shanghai University of Finance and Economics. Jiang was chairman of China's Banking Association, vice president of the China Financial Institute, and director of the board of Fudan University. He wrote more than 20 publications.
"Asia's Finest: The Honours Roll—Home-Grown Institutions Are Often Overlooked," Asiamoney , May 2003, p. 46.
"Back in the Black?" The Banker , May 2001, p. 5.
"Bank Chief Wants Change to Oust Major Policy Obstructions," Asia Africa Intelligence Wire, March 20, 2003.
"Bank Ties Up with Microsoft," Asia Africa Intelligence Wire, February 28, 2003.
Chan, Christine, "Big Four Can't Walk Tall as Reforms Stall," Asia Africa Intelligence Wire, April 12, 2004.
——, "ICBC Tightens Lending to Hot Sectors: The Move Supports Top-Level Calls to Check Over-investment," Asia Africa Intelligence Wire, February 12, 2004.
"China Banks Get Combat Ready," Asiamoney , July 2001, p. 36.
"China Industry: AmEx and ICBC Announce Alliance to Issue Co-branded Credit Cards," Country ViewsWire, April 9, 2004.
"China's ICBC to Pull Back on Loans for 'Overheated' Industries," Asia Africa Intelligence Wire, February 12, 2004.
"Focus-China's ICBC Struggles to Offload Historical Debt to Allow for Listing," Asia Africa Intelligence Wire, January 16, 2004.
"ICBC Chief Optimistic about Reforms," Asia Africa Intelligence Wire, January 9, 2003.
"ICBC Inks Deal on Credit Cards with Amex Logo," Asia Africa Intelligence Wire, April 7, 2004.
"ICBC Launches New Personal Online Banking Services," Asia Africa Intelligence Wire, December 19, 2003.
"ICBC Offers Speedier Online Service Platform," Asia Africa Intelligence Wire, December 18, 2003.
"ICBC Sets Lower 2004 New-Loan Target of US$42.18b to Cut Risk," Asia Africa Intelligence Wire, February 13, 2004.
"ICBC Tries to Secure Top Position," Asia Africa Intelligence Wire, April 6, 2004.
"ICBC's Jiang: Building 'China's Citibank'," March 2001, http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/mar2001/nf2001035_183.htm .
"In Brief," Asia Africa Intelligence Wire, April 9, 2004.
"Jiang Jianqing," August 17, 2001, http://www.weforum.org/site/knowledgenavigator.nsf/Content/Jiang%20Jianqing%20 .
"Jiang Jianqing, President of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC)," December 13, 2000, http://www.chinaonline.com/refer/biographies/secure/c00121267.asp .
"The Two Faces of Chinese Capital," Euromoney , December 2000, p. 46.
Wang, Weiping, "Roundup: China's Biggest Bank Confident of 10 Percent Profit Growth," Xinhua News Agency, March 30, 2004.
"Watch Out Citi, You've Competition," Asiamoney , June 2003, p. 48.
Zhang, Dingmin, "ICBC Controls Loans to Saturated Industries," Asia Africa Intelligence Wire, February 12, 2004.
—Catherine Victoria Donaldson