Postal Savings Bank of China (PSBC) is to launch an initial public offering (IPO) next year, worth up to $25 billion, according to state-run China Daily. The bank is currently in talks over the sale of a 15 per cent stake to strategic investors for $6 billion.
PSBC is a market leader in China’s largely poor countryside, its savings-branch network reaching into the smallest towns and even villages. In 2013, the bank had deposit franchises with 800 billion yuan (HK$989.7 billion) in savings and assets worth 5.6 trillion yuan.
Some experts have warned that unless the $25bn in fresh capital jump-starts a transformation of the bank’s technology and products, the IPO could do little more than “line its parent’s pockets.”
“In the digital era, no one can afford to ignore such a player in the market, especially when it gets commercialised, whether creating a digital ecosystem by itself or forming part of it by partnering with others,” said Albert Chan, head of financial services for Accenture in China. “The Postal Savings Bank is likely to expand on mobile payment services, following the footsteps of global peers like Poste Italiane and Deutsche Postbank.”