Modern Times

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.

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  1. me also don’t like chinese bank at all…because of a incident…when i created a bank account in Bank of communication after showing my that time they didn’t write my full name in the cheque book…so i asked them but they didn’t say anything at that time…but couple of months later…when someone sent me money from my home country…i went to the bank to take money…now that time after showing my passport… the bank officials said your name is not matching with your passport so we can’t give u money… after 1 weeks me finally got my money…

  2. hehe, as it said, banks, though the service is still bad, are monopolies. and investors do like monopolies.

    P.S. a little mistake, Bank of China is the nation’s second-largest bank, and listed in both Hong Kong and Shanghai. (hoho, this is the thing I have been written every day)

  3. @Amy: I did not know BoC is the second largest bank, I guess its name gives it the ‘biggest bank’ feeling.

    I am aware that they are also listed in Shanghai, but what I wanted to emphasize is that a foreign-listed enterprise can still be so backward. I am sure many other companies listed on the mainland are even worse 🙂

  4. Hi Marc,

    Even banks in Hong Kong do not use email to communicate with their clients.

    At least for HSBC, where I have my business account and the same is for CITIBANK. I believe they (ab)use security as the reason for this.