Locational Changes of Banking Services in the Less Developed Region of China since 1980: The Case of Henan Province

  • 1. College of Environment and Planning, Henan University, Kaifeng 475001, China;
    2. Henan University of Finance and Economics, Zhengzhou 450002, China

Received date: 2005-09-26

  Revised date: 2005-12-23

  Online published: 2006-04-25

Supported by

National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.40271038; No.4053502


Geography of finance has attracted great attention of geographers and other relevant scholars since the 1990s. The literature indicates that the investigation on changes of locations and spatial systems of banking services is one of the main themes. Results based on developed countries have found the tendency of centralization in the spatial systems both in international and sub-national scales. Globalization, deregulation, and technological change have been the main factors accounting for the changes. As compared to the developed economies, less developed region in China has been developing with different backgrounds. In addition to the relatively slowing-down globalization, its economy stays at the lower level but the growth is fast. The impact of technology is increasing but not practically strong. Henan as China's largest province serves as a typical case as its per capita GDP is lower than the national average; its annual growth rate has been among the national top five in the past five years. By using survey data from Henan Province, this paper found the similar centralization of the locations of banking services. More services have been shifted from counties to central cities, particularly the regional cities attracting more services. Many factors may explain these changes. Institutional changes, however, play a significant role. Banks were quasi-government authorities before 1978. Their organization was closely linked with hierarchy of government structure. Since China's reform and establishment of market-oriented economy, banks have been gradually operating as firms. Economic growth and its consequent requirement for banking services become the main factors determining bank locations. The particular importance of institutional factor in spatial systems of banking services can be proved at high significant levels in pooled OLS stimulation models. The questionnaire interviews of 58 bank offices further support the findings from the quantitative analysis. Locations of bank offices in Zhengzhou, the capital city of Henan Province, indicated a spreading coverage along the urban expansion. "Higher income level" was evaluated by the sampling offices as a most important factor in the formation of bank networks since 1979. Therefore, in the areas with increasing number of fast growth companies, as well as the residential areas with rich class, concentration of banking services has been very evident. Spatial restructuring of banking services provides convenience for prosperous areas, notwithstanding, the peripheries outside the central areas may suffer from disadvantage in banking services. Attention should be given to its research.

Cite this article

LI Xiaojian, ZHOU Xiongfei, WEI Chunjiang, KONG Yunfeng . Locational Changes of Banking Services in the Less Developed Region of China since 1980: The Case of Henan Province[J]. Acta Geographica Sinica, 2006 , 61(4) : 414 -424 . DOI: 10.11821/xb200604008


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