Foreign banks gaining popularity in China

  • By Christine St Anne

While China’s retail banking industry is still dominated by its large local banks some larger foreign banks have are garnered customer support, consistently topping the net promoter score results.

This is the finding from a report by RFi Group research director Andrew Kim. RFi Group research tracks the NPS results in China every six months.

The RFi Group China Retail and Priority Banking Council survey - which interviews banked consumers in the tier one cities of China – found that Standard Chartered, HSBC, and Citibank have placed in the top 3 for its results for the retail banking segment NPS as outlined in the chart below

Source: RFI Group


“The foreign banks in China have loyal customers because of a few reasons with the most obvious one being brand strength,” Kim said.

As with all foreign brands in China, it’s pricing will only be accessible to the upper class and the premium has to be justified by superior utility than that of local counterparts,” he said.

“With the need for connectivity, the foreign banks offer Chinese consumers a global network gateway and have the strength of their global brands to provide reliability and trust backing their suite of financial products.”

Kim also emphasised that given that they are not state-owned enterprises, their clients have the peace of mind of knowing that their wealth is stored at institutions that are better positioned to protect their security and confidentiality.

The quality of service will be another key differentiator that foreign banks can bring to the table as they can leverage their global best practice to tailor to Chinese consumers.

“With local operations being overshadowed by the local banks, the foreign banks have the advantage of being smaller and more agile to cater to their clients needs so that clients receive a better user experience,” Kim said.

The April edition of the AB+F Digital Magazine will include the full report.