Chinese banks are still a bit backwards compared to their foreign competitors. For years they were protected by China’s laws against competition, but that has changed quite a bit over the past 5 years. You would assume that competition would force the Chinese banks to quickly change their archaic systems and regulations, but that takes a bit more time.
Today I came across an typical example of how modern Chinese banks are. I was talking to my HR manager tonight about the salaries that we will transfer to the staff on Friday. She told me that the bank needs a simple text file for that, which contains a combination of the bank account numbers and the amounts to be transferred. The HR manager told me that each month she has to go to the bank to deliver that to them.
I did not fully understand it, and asked why she could not email it to the bank Well, she said, for a simple reason, because they don’t use email there! We are talking here about a branch office of the Bank of China (China’s biggest bank, listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange) and it is 2007, not 1993. She then told me that they wanted her to deliver the file on a floppy disk to her. A what? Yes, a floppy disk! I have not seen one of those things in many years, and of course none of our computers has a slot for floppy disks anymore. But luckily the bank’s computers are so modern that they already have a USB port, so we now managed to find a mutual agreeable solution by using a USB disk to transfer the file. Welcome to the modern world Bank of China.