Page last updated at 13:01 GMT, Thursday, 21 August 2008 14:01 UK

China bank sees top 2008 profits

Chinese money
The booming domestic economy has boosted Chinese banks

China's largest bank has reported a 57% jump in half-year profits - saying its earnings have outstripped any of its rivals worldwide.

Industrial & Commercial Bank of China made 64.5bn yuan (US$9.4bn; 5bn) in the first six months of 2008.

This comfortably beat banks which have been embroiled in the credit crisis and have had to make large write-downs.

Chinese banks are benefiting from little exposure to US sub-prime loans and the booming domestic economy.

"According to all the interim results that have been announced so far, ICBC has become the most profitable bank in the world in the first half of 2008," the bank said.

The results surpass the $7.7bn net profit announced by HSBC - down from $10.9bn in the first half of 2007.

International ambition

State-controlled ICBC is the world's largest bank by market capitalisation, with assets as of 9.4 trillion yuan as of 30 June.

ICBC has bought stakes in South Africa's Standard Bank Group and Macau's Seng Heng Bank, as well as announcing plans to open branches in Sydney and New York.

And it said it was aiming to "become a leading international financial institution".

It added that only 0.09% of its total assets were linked to the US sub-prime market, while holdings in US mortgage firms Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae also constituted just a tiny fraction of its assets.

Healthy profits for Bank of China
25 Mar 08 |  Business

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