China's banking sector has been outshining its foreign peers since 2008 when the global financial crisis devastated Wall Street giants like Lehman Brothers. Its total profits, profit growth and returns on capital all rank highest in the world.
The net profits of China's banking sector rose to 668.4 billion yuan in 2009 after a surge of 30.6 percent to 583 billion yuan in 2008. The largest five state-owned commercial banks, known as the "Big Five," have been doing well so far this year. The first three quarters has seen a 29 percent increase in the Big Five's net profits, and small and medium-sized shareholding banks saw a more than 30 percent increase.
So far, 18 Chinese banks are on the list of the world's top 500 banks. Three of the Big Five are among the world's largest in terms of capitalization. In the world's five most profitable banks, three are from China.
The Big Five includes the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Bank of China, China Construction Bank, the Agricultural Bank of China and Bank of Communications. They are all listed companies.