Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited (ICBC; simplified Chinese: 中国工商银行; traditional Chinese: 中國工商銀行; pinyin: Zhōngguó Gōngshāng Yínháng, more commonly just 工行 Gōngháng) is a Chinese multinational banking company, it is the largest bank in the world by total assets and the most valuable bank in the world by market capitalization since February 2017. It is one of China's "Big Four" state-owned commercial banks (the other three being the Bank of China, Agricultural Bank of China, and China Construction Bank). It was founded as a limited company on January 1, 1984. As of June 2015, it had assets worth US$3.616 trillion. Generally considered the largest bank and public company in the world by assets; it is the first Chinese bank to achieve such a feat. It ranks number 1 in The Banker's Top 1000 World Banks ranking, and first on the Forbes Global 2000 list of the world's biggest public companies.
Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) opened its very first office branch on 1 January 1984 in Beijing as a local state-run bank.
ICBC opened a branch in Luxembourg which became the European headquarters of the bank in 2011. ICBC (Europe) S.A. operates a network covering branches in major European cities, namely Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, Milan, Madrid, Barcelona, Warsaw and Lisbon.
In the runup to its planned initial public offering, on 28 April 2006, three "strategic investors" injected US$3.7 billion into ICBC :
ICBC was simultaneously listed on both the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and Shanghai Stock Exchange on 27 October 2006. It was the world's largest IPO at that time valued at US$21.9 billion, surpassing the previous record US$18.4 billion IPO by Japan's NTT DoCoMo in 1998. In 2010, Agricultural Bank of China broke ICBC's IPO record when it raised $22.1 billion. China's largest commercial bank was also the first company to debut simultaneously on both the Hong Kong and Shanghai stock exchanges.
ICBC raised at least US$14 billion in Hong Kong (H-shares) and another US$5.1 billion in Shanghai (A-shares). Due to heavy subscriptions, the greenshoe (i.e. over-allotment) placements were exercised and ICBC's take rose to US$21.9 billion (17% of ICBC's market value before the IPO), divided in US$16 billion in Hong Kong and US$5.9 billion in Shanghai. Following the global offering, the free float of shares was 22.14% of the market capitalization.
At the end of its first day of trading, the bank's shares closed up almost 15% at HK$3.52 in Hong Kong, compared with the listing price of HK$3.07, which was set at the top of the indicative range due to the strong demand. According to Bloomberg, ICBC's market capitalisation at the end of trade based on its Hong Kong shares was US$156.3 billion, making its equity the world's fifth highest among banks, just behind JPMorgan Chase. Meanwhile, ICBC's Shanghai-listed A-shares recorded more modest gains and ended up 5.1% from the offering price of RMB 3.12.
At the 2008 ALB China Law Awards, ICBC was crowned:
In 2010, ICBC loaned $400 million towards the completion of the Gibe III dam in Ethiopia. Groups that oppose the dam such as International Rivers and Survival International have complained about or have written to ICBC against the dam's funding.
On January 24, 2011, ICBC opened a branch office in Madrid, Spain.
On 20 May 2011, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd. established two branches in Pakistan, one in Karachi, the other in Islamabad. On 18 August 2011, ICBC passed the examination from State Bank of Pakistan and started its business in Pakistan.
2012 In November, ICBC acquired for $600 million 80% stake of Standard Bank Argentina and, six months later, the change was made in the 103 branches that the South African bank had in the country. It is the largest operation of a Chinese bank in Latin America. In Argentina, the bank has 1,000,000 individual customers, 30,000 companies of all categories and over 1600 corporate companies .
During the 2013 Korean crisis, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China halted business with a North Korean bank accused by the United States of financing Pyongyang's missile and nuclear programs.
It was announced at the end of July 2013 that South Africa’s Standard Bank was in talks to sell its markets business in London to the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China for more than $500 million.
On September 24, 2014, ICBC Kuwait Branch officially opened in Kuwait City, capital of Kuwait. As the first and currently the only Chinese bank in Kuwait, the establishment of ICBC Kuwait Branch ended the history of no Chinese bank’s presence in Kuwait. Meanwhile, it is also the fourth branch of ICBC in the Middle East, following branches in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha. Kuwaiti Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce and Industry Abdulmohsen Al-Madaj, Chairman of ICBC Jiang Jianqing, and China’s ambassador to Kuwait Cui Jianchun and other officials and guests attended the opening ceremony held in Kuwait City on September 24.
ICBC is not only the first Chinese bank to set up operating branches in the Middle East, but also the biggest Chinese bank in the region in terms of total number of branches and business scale. The establishment of ICBC Kuwait Branch has further optimized the Bank’s service network in the Middle East and represents another important achievement of the Bank’s international operation strategy. ICBC Kuwait Branch has full-suite banking license, offering high-quality financial products and diversified and comprehensive financial services tailored to customers’ needs. Meanwhile, it will continue cooperating with other ICBC institutions in the Middle East to upgrade its comprehensive service capability in Kuwait.
As discussed by ICBC Senior Officials, the bank is open to alternative banking and financing and would like to seek more guidance on best practices.
On February 17, 2016, the Spanish Guardia Civil raided the offices of ICBC in Madrid, Spain, investigating suspicions of money laundering.
On November 18, 2016, the bank obtained a license to take deposits in Russia.
ICBC Financial Services, the bank’s brokerage unit, provided about $88 billion of repo financing at the end of 2015, up from $59 billion two years ago, according to regulatory filings. The figures are before netting agreements that can be used to reduce overall assets and liabilities. Almost all the repo financing that ICBC provides is on U.S. government bonds.
As of 2006, ICBC has 2.5 million corporate customers and 150 million individual customers. In 2005, net profit was up 12.4% to RMB 33.7 billion, and the total loan balance was RMB 3,289.5 billion. Total liabilities are RMB 6,196.2 billion, up 11.2%. Delinquent or non-performing loans (NPL) total RMB 154.4 billion, a significant reduction although the figures are widely regarded as being somewhat higher than officially stated. It has an NPL ratio of 4.69% and a capital adequacy ratio of 9.89%.
In millions of Chinese RMB (Yuan) in 2005:
At the end of 2004, 19.1% of ICBC's portfolio consisted of non-performing loans. In order to clean up ICBC's balance sheet and prepare it for overseas listing, the Chinese government orchestrated a series of capital injections, asset transfers, and government-subsidised bad loan disposals that eventually cost more than US$162 billion. This included an approval for a cash injection of US$15 billion (financed from China's massive foreign exchange reserves) on 28 April 2005. The Beijing-based state company, China Huarong Asset Management, helped ICBC dispose of its bad loans. As the 2005 annual report records, just under 5% of loans are classified as non-performing, in comparison with the majority of western banks who have lower NPL ratios (US commercial banks around 1%).
In 2008 ICBC was the first Chinese Bank to adopt the Equator Principles, an international set of social and environmental standards for financial institutions launched in 2003. It has also adopted the Green Credit Policy launched in 2007 by the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection. International environmental groups have criticized ICBC for failing to adhere to its social environmental standards and of being hypocritical, because ICBC is involved in the financing of the controversial Gilgel Gibe III Dam in Ethiopia.