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.