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China to start pilot for four privately owned banks

Published on Mar 11, 2014 9:52 AM

BEIJING (REUTERS) - China will launch a pilot test for privately owned banks in its more prosperous regions of Tianjin, Shanghai, Zhejiang and Guangdong, the country's bank regulator Xiao Gang said on Tuesday.

The pilot, which was approved by China's government in January, is the first tentative step by the country to open its hitherto closely guarded banking sector to private investors.

An article appearing in the official party mouthpiece People's Daily on Tuesday named companies that have been approved to participate in the pilot project, including e-commerce giants Alibaba and Tencent - both of which have been competing to market high-yielding wealth management products online.

A total of 10 companies will participate in the pilot, the report said, adding that five privately owned banks will be approved as the first batch. It did not give names of these banks.

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