After the Chinese Civil War ended in 1949, the Bank of China effectively split into two operations. Part of the bank relocated to Taiwan with the Kuomintang (KMT) government, and was privatized in 1971 to become the International Commercial Bank of China (). In 2002, it merged with Jiaotong Bank (?) to become the Mega International Commercial Bank. The Mainland operation is the current entity known as the Bank of China.
It is the second largest lender in China overall, and the fifth largest bank in the world by market capitalization value. Once 100% owned by the central government, via China Central Huijin and National Council for Social Security Fund (SSF), an Initial public offering (IPO) of its shares took place in June 2006, the free float is at present over 26%. In the Forbes Global 2000 it ranked as the 4th-largest company in the world.
Although it is present in the above countries/territories, its operations outside China accounted for less than 4% of the activity of the bank by both profits and assets. Mainland China accounts for 60% of the bank by profits and 76% by assets as at December 2005.
1929: BOC opened its first overseas branch in London. The branch managed the government's foreign debt, became a center for the bank's management of its foreign exchange, and acted as an intermediary for China's international trade.
1941-1942: The Japanese conquest of Southeast Asia forced BOC to close all overseas its branches, agencies, sub-branches and sub-agencies, except London, New York, Calcutta, and Bombay. Nevertheless, in 1942, it managed to set up six new overseas branches, such as in Sydney, (Australia), Liverpool, and Havana, and possibly Karachi.
1946: BOC reopened its branches and agencies in Hong Kong, Singapore, Haiphong, Rangoon, Kuala Lumpur, Penang, and Jakarta. It moved the Hanoi agency to Saigon. At the suggestion of the Allied Forces Headquarters, it liquidated the branch in Osaka and opened a sub-branch in Tokyo.
1950: After victory of Communist forces in the civil war, some branches (ex. Hong Kong, Singapore, London, Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Calcutta, Bombay, Chittagong, and Karachi) of Bank of China joined the bank headquartered in Beijing, while others (ex. New York, Tokyo, Havana, Bangkok, and one other, possibly Panama) opted to remain with the Bank of China headquartered in Taipei. In 1971, this bank took the name International Commercial Bank of China.
1963: The Burmese government nationalized all banks, foreign and domestic, including the Bank of China's Rangoon branch.
2001: Kwangtung Provincial Bank was closed and merged under Bank of China, Singapore Branch.
2002: Bank of China Futures Pte Ltd wound up operations in Singapore.
2005: In the runup to its initial public offering, BOC solicited long term investors to take strategic stakes in the company, including a $3.1 billion investment by the Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC and further investments by Swiss bank UBS AG and Temasek Holdings (who also promised to subscribe for an additional $500 million worth of shares during the IPO). The Bank was also investigated by the United States in its money laundering probe related to the superdollars affair.
2001-2007: Massive staff layoffs and paycuts in BOC Singapore Branch, culminating in 2007 with branch head Zhu Hua being asked to leave by the Monetary Authority of Singapore for his poor performance. He was replaced by Liu Yan Fen.
2008: Head of Settlements at BOC, Chin Chuh Meng, was investigated involvement for Multi-Level Marketing Activities in Singapore, a scheme involving employees of the Bank of China and ex-Kwangtung Bank.
2009: Opened branches in São Paulo and Maputo.Penang branch reopened in October. People's Park Remittance Centre opened in Singapore. Sunday Banking Business ceased in Chinatown Sub-branch in Singapore.
2012: BOC opened branch in Taiwan. The opening is seen as a symbol of deepening economic ties across Taiwan Strait Bank of China (M) Bhd opened its 6th branch in Malaysia at Tower 2, PFCC, Bandar Puteri Puchong in 2012.
2013: BOC opened a branch in Lisbon, Portugal. During the Korean crisis, the Bank of China halted business with a North Korean bank accused by the United States of financing Pyongyang's missile and nuclear programs. New branch opened in Montreal. The Canadian arm of the Bank of China now has 10 branches across Canada, including five in the Greater Toronto Area and three in Vancouver.
It listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (independently from BOCHK) (SEHK:3988) by floating the largest initial public offering (IPO) in the world by any institution since 2000 on June 1, 2006, raising US$9.7 billion. The IPO attracted HK$286 billion (US$36.7 billion) in retail orders and was the most heavily oversubscribed in the history of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. The offer was around 76 times oversubscribed. Although some financial analysts advised caution due to the worrying amounts of non-performing loans, this hardly deterred investors. The IPO share price started at HK$2.95 per share and jumped 15% (to HK$3.40) after the first day of trading.
In 2008, the Bank of China was crowned Deal of the Year - Debt Market Deal of the Year at the 2008 ALB Hong Kong Law Awards.
It has over RMB6,951.68 billion in assets, making it part of the Fortune Global 500 for the past 17 years.
It is the second largest lender in China overall, the largest lender to non-institutions, and the largest foreign exchange lender (the largest lender in China is the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China).
All overseas branches are only affiliated with Bank of China branches in China. That means that if you deposit money in a China branch, you cannot access your money in overseas branches. As of 2018 (perhaps earlier), withdrawal of funds in the U.S. are allowed from deposits made in China, but may be limited to $15,000 per 12-month period.
Bank of China, New York internet banking is available for US dollar accounts and online access to stop payments, wire transfers and remittances. Great Wall debit MasterCard is available to account holders.
Bank of China, New York has two locations: 410 Madison (open Monday - Friday) and 42 East Broadway (open seven days). It also operates as a functional 24/7 clearinghouse for wire transfers and stop payments (allowing real time payments to China).
Although it is not a central bank, the Bank of China is licensed to issue banknotes in two of China's Special Administrative Regions. Until 1942, the Bank of China issued banknotes in mainland China on behalf of the Government of the Republic of China. Today, the Bank issues banknotes in Hong Kong and banknotes in Macau (under the Portuguese name "Banco da China, Sucursal de Macau"), along with other commercial banks in those regions.
After COVEC withdrew from completing its construction of the A2 highway in Poland, Bank of China was to pay a performance guarantee to the Polish government's road organization GDDKiA. However, with Export-Import Bank of China, they refused to pay this; only Deutsche Bank honoured its obligations under the court decision.
Wultz v. Bank of China
On August 8, 2008, the family of Daniel Wultz, an American teenager killed in a 2006 terrorist attack in Israel, filed suit against the Bank of China in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The case was subsequently transferred to the United States District Court, Southern District of New York, where litigation continues. On October 29, 2012, the Honorable J. Scheindlin issued a ruling compelling Bank of China to provide discovery.
Alleged money transfers to Hamas
In 2012, the families of eight terror victims of the 2008 Mercaz HaRav massacre in Jerusalem filed a lawsuit against the Bank of China. The suit asserted that in 2003 the bank's New York branch wired millions of dollars to Hamas from its leadership in Syria and Iran. The Bank of China subsequently denied providing banking services to terrorist groups: "The Bank of China has always strictly followed the UN's anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing requirements and regulations in China and other judicial areas where we operate."
^The Bank of China on the 29 of May 2014 was approached by investors. The investors were offering a better deal than the government. The investors invested over 100 trillion us dollars with the interest rate of only 5.75 % on loans, mortgages, and 10% on all returns of investment in the China Bank "Bank of China opens Montreal branch". Montreal Gazette. Archived from the original on 8 October 2013. Retrieved 2013.