(Yicai Global) April 24 -- The total number of individual mobile banking accounts in China rose 28.3 percent last year to 1.5 billion, outnumbering the country’s vast population for the first time due to many users holding multiple accounts, analysis shows.
The number of corporate mobile bank accounts surged 57.5 percent to 5 million last year, demonstrating the importance of the mobile apps to the industry, news site National Business Daily reported in an analysis of annual reports from China’s commercial lenders.
The country’s five major state-owned banks, namely the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd. (ICBC), Agricultural Bank of China Ltd. (ABC), Bank of China Ltd., China Construction Bank Corp. (CCB), and Bank of Communications Ltd. increased their cumulative mobile banking customers to 900 million last year, dominating the market. ICBC, CCB and ABC attracted the most new mobile users.
Nationwide joint-stock commercial banks also enjoyed strong growth momentum last year in terms of mobile banking despite the large gap compared with big state-owned lenders. Mobile users among China Merchants Bank Co., Ping An Bank Co., China Everbright Bank Co. and China CITIC Bank Ltd. all rose by over 30 percent compared the year before.
Mobile banking allows lenders to strengthen their competitiveness with lower costs compared to traditional outlets and automatic teller machines. Its use can also increase customer retention and loyalty by providing more efficient and convenient financial services, said Wu Qi, a senior researcher at Chinese public policy research institution, the Pangoal Institution.
The mobile banking is the indispensable route for all banks, especially those who make efforts in the retail business, said Winston Xue, general manager of financial services at market research firm JD Power China Co. Traditional commercial lenders typically adopt a distributed management system with each network operating independently, resulting in low efficiency. Mobile banking can achieve the transformation and upgrading of retail banks with the centralization of management across all products, processes and services, Xue added.
Editor: William Clegg