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CCB’s Wang is alert to China’s challenges

China Construction Bank is not alone among the country’s big four banks to claim it changed its lending policy before the rise in bad debts. But in chairman Wang Hongzhang, CCB has a leader who thinks differently.


Illustration: Kevin February

Euromoney meets China Construction Bank chairman Wang Hongzhang in a Beijing boardroom dominated by a vast tapestry of the Great Wall of China. It is a symbol of longevity and permanence in a place that has seen enormous change, with much more to come.

Wang understands more than most just how dramatically the sands can shift in his country. Born in July 1954, five years after Mao announced the formation of the People’s Republic of China, at 17 he became a ‘sent-down youth’, the euphemistic term for young people during the Cultural Revolution who were sent, willingly or otherwise, to work in rural areas. 

His time in the Communist Party – he joined in 1974 and became an alternate member of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China in 2012 – has seen the leaderships of Mao, Hua Guofeng, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao and now Xi Jinping. He knows all about change.

That sort of long-term view is useful for the head of a big-four Chinese bank – a group, which though it appears impregnable, has many challenges ahead.

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