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BRANCH BANKING | Staff Reporter, China
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CCB begins massive expansion of branch network

China Construction Bank Corporation plans to open 2,000 more branches until 2016.

Zhu Xiaohuang, Executive Vice President in charge of Retail Banking, said the bank plans to establish some 400 branches a year until the middle of 2016 for a total of about 2,000 branches. CCB added 166 branches in the second-half of 2011 after the branch expansion began.

Its 13,600 branches give it China’s third largest branch network.

"From now on, the development of our retail business will be a major driver of our overall operations," Zhu said in a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal. "And the basis for this must be...the branch network."

The branch network expansion is seen as an effort to reach more consumers, a sharp shift in strategy for one of China’s top state-controlled banks amid more political pressure to reach underserved parts of the economy.

On the other hand, CCB’s other Big Four rivals (Bank of China, Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. and Agricultural Bank of China Ltd) are reducing the number of their branches to streamline operations.

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