Careers In China - Banking Opportunities

Three Chinese banks are among the top ten most profitable in the world, and they need global executives for their overseas expansion!

Photo credit Dainis Maitsons

Understanding the country's economic growth is important for those keen to explore careers in China. China’s new leaders have promised deep economic reform and there’s room for global minded executives!

We’ve gathered the opinions of top professors at Shanghai Advanced Institute of Finance (SAIF) to find out how those interested in doing business in China or Chinese careers can prepare themselves.

These experts believe that if China’s economy is to be steered back to double digit growth, the major issues to be addressed are: transitioning from an investment-driven society to a consumption driven one; urbanization; research and development and the regulation of financial institutions.

Prof. Zhu Ning, Deputy Director of SAIF addressed the problems of urbanization and technological innovation. He said, “We still have a lot of the population living in the countryside and not only will they move into the city, but also the key question is how to make the countryside more like the city and how to improve the quality of the life of people who are living in the countryside in China”.

“Another [key area of reform] is... boosting the knowledge-based economy, to encourage technological innovation... I think that will be in the end the driver for growth.”

Chinese finance institutions have grown from strength to strength in recent years. Chinese banks have become the nouveau riche of global banking. Their combined profits accounted for nearly a third of the world market in 2011, a significant escalation from just 4 per cent in 2007.

Three of the Big Four banks - Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Construction Bank and Bank of China - ranked as top money-spinners in The Banker magazine's 2012 list of the most profitable banks in the world. The fourth bank in the group is Agricultural Bank of China.

The Big Four are aggressively establishing branches all over the world, providing an array of business services that include supply chain financing and liquidity management. This is a lot more than can be said for European banks who are counting the cost of the Eurozone crisis.

Professor Chang Chun, Executive Director of SAIF, was positive on overseas expansion for China’s Big Four State-owned banks. "The timing is right for them to look offshore. It's the same on the corporate side of the business world. Some fast-expanding sectors have reached a plateau and have to look for overseas opportunities," he said.

"Corporate clients need services like merger-and-acquisition financing and financial consultancy”, he added.

Professor Chun believes that the banks' overseas ambitions are aided by Chinese government reforms aimed at making the yuan a more international currency. "A freely convertible yuan requires complete capital account convertibility," Chang said. "It will take at least three to five years to accomplish. A fully internationalized yuan would eventually turn it into a reserve currency, like the US dollar."

International banking operations and the myriad of growing businesses in China require the right people: global-minded executives, said Professor Chun.

We had a look at SAIF’s 2012 Employment report and they seem to be doing a great job at placing students within reach of these opportunities.

Of the class of 46 graduates, 100% were in employment at the end of the programme, 91.3% were in the finance industry. Two students joined the corporate industry and two students started their own businesses.

Some of the most popular industries were domestic securities, venture capital and private equity, asset management, financial research, funds, joint venture securities and financial services.

Investment analysis, investment banking, financial research and strategic development were amongst the most popular roles.

SAIF regularly hosts lectures where they invite top financial minds to speak with students. They are also big on applied learning, encouraging students to make use of their live trading floor.

To top it off their annual China Youth Leadership Finance Summit was held in January this year!  

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Read more about students, programmes and alumni at Shanghai Advanced Institute of Finance, here

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