Wow, according to Banking Business Review, ICBC (Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, aka, 中国工商银行 [zhong guo gong shang yin hang]) is now the world's largest bank, as measured by value, displacing Citigroup. Another report suggests that ICBC is considering overseas expansion, including Russia and the US.
It is really quite interesting to witness the rise of China, and of Chinese banks, to world prominence. I had the pleasure of visiting ICBC about 6 months ago, and was very impressed with the people I met. However, they face a lot of challenges moving forward. As the BBR article, above, suggests, there are concerns about their compliance standards that may hamper their expansion overseas. I also think that the big 4 Chinese banks face less favorable customer demographics than some of the newer entrants (such as Citi, which can now conduct local RMB business) who can cater to the more affluent (and more profitable) urban segments.
However, stiff foreign competition is putting pressure on the Big 4 to improve compliance and to sharpen their focus on global measures of competitiveness (case in point). Some observers are thoroughly unconvinced. I don't claim to know how this will all play out, and lacking significant disposable income, I don't have any skin in the game. Given the uncertainty, I'm happy to be an interested observer.