American international banking in asia: The case of ibc in china

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The purpose of this chapter is to explore the nature of the business conducted by the branches of an American international bank, the International Banking Corporation (hereafter IBC). Although IBC had the largest foreign branch network among the US banks before World War I and it mainly focused on Asia, it was the latest entrant among major international banks in the East. The literature on American international banking before World War I clarified why expansion of foreign branch networks was restricted by their institutional background. However, it does not clarify the branch level activities of the US international banks due to limited access to archival materials. Therefore, even though only partially, we try to fill the gap based on newly explored archival sources. Consequently, we clarify the roles of four branches of IBC within its branch network: London Branch was the key for acceptance; Beijing Branch supplied funds to Shanghai Branch; Tianjin Branch focused on foreign trade finance; and Guangzhou Branch conducting both exchange transactions and fund supplies to Hong Kong Branch. However, competing with other banks, especially with British ones, IBC lagged because it had a similar business model to them and it was also a latecomer.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStudies in Economic History
Number of pages34
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

NameStudies in Economic History
ISSN (Print)2364-1797
ISSN (Electronic)2364-1800


  • American international banking
  • Asia
  • Branch banking
  • China
  • Trade finance


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