Special Edition

Eighth Anniversary Special Edition

Why China's first bank was founded in Pingyao

To commemorate Week in China’s 8th anniversary (our first issue was published in February 2009) we offer a history-focused special issue. This WiC Insight edition traces the development of Pingyao, China’s version of Wall Street for most of the nineteenth century.

We tell the story of how a small city in Shanxi pioneered Chinese banking; analyse the corporate governance lessons to be learned from how its banks recruited and rewarded their staff, and managed their risk; and how the bond with the Qing rulers that helped Pingyao to boom and become China’s de facto treasury and central bank – as well as a private banking centre bigger than Zurich or Geneva – eventually led these Silk Road financiers to go bust after 1912.

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