Agricultural Bank of China

Agricultural Bank of China (ABC) is among the four largest banks in China. With an agricultural and rural focus, a balance sheet close to EUR 1 trillion, over 70 million clients and some 450,000 employees, Rabobank recognised an ideal opportunity to cooperate with a leading Chinese agricultural bank.

ABC’s client portfolio ranges from small-scale farmers to the country’s largest food and agriculture wholesalers as well as non-agricultural customers. It offers clients a wide variety of corporate, agricultural and retail banking products and made it to 141st place on the Global 2010 Fortune 500 list. ABC’s biggest market share is in wholesale banking, while medium-sized companies remain its primary growth area.

Rabobank’s strategic partnership with ABC includes technical cooperation, which makes for a perfect fit with Rabo Development. We launched a two-year technical assistance programme in early 2011, assisting ABC in its agricultural and rural operations and helping it identify business opportunities in banking.

China’s agricultural production is extremely diverse due to its varied climate, presenting major opportunities for agricultural development. Gaps between social classes in China remain very wide, as the east is far wealthier than the mid and west regions, making standardisation across the bank’s many branches an on-going challenge.
Rabo Development experts are sharing their knowledge with ABC during this two-year advisory project, which focuses on five areas: customer segmentation and product development; agricultural value chain solutions; agricultural sector knowledge and credit policies; credit risk management for rural lending; and e-banking.

In addition to this technical support, Rabobank became a cornerstone investor in ABC in 2010, when the bank was listed on the Shanghai and Hong Kong stock exchanges. The investment is relatively small, but Rabobank’s investment in ABC extends far beyond the financial. By sharing our strengths in international trade and agricultural banking we are engaging in a two-way learning process, which offers promising prospects for both ABC and Rabobank’s presence in China.