Toward Universal Financial Inclusion in China

China has achieved remarkable success in financial inclusion. China’s rate of account ownership – a basic metric of financial inclusion – has increased significantly in the past two decades and is now on par with that of other G-20 countries. Traditional financial service providers have dramatically increased the reach of the formal financial sector, including through the world’s largest agent banking network. China has also been an established leader in the fintech revolution, with new technology-driven providers transforming how millions of Chinese consumers make payments, borrow, save, invest, and insure themselves against risk. This report examines in detail China’s approach to financial inclusion over the past 15 years. The report benchmarks China’s progress against peer economies and analyzes key developments and factors in China’s financial inclusion experience. The report also outlines remaining challenges to achieving further advances in financial inclusion in China, and distills key lessons policymakers from other countries can learn from China’s experience. The report was written jointly by the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) and the World Bank Group.

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