Chinese philosopher Laozi is quoted as saying that a thousand mile journey begins with a single step. I thought of that proverb when I recently had the opportunity to visit the far north east of China to investigate opportunities for agent and mobile banking in rural communities. As I outlined in my previous blog on the opportunity for mobile money in China, there have been positive developments from a regulatory perspective recently. The People’s Bank of China is supporting a pilot this year to allow agent banking in some provinces with an aim to develop financial services down to the village level. This is very exciting, as although China has banking penetration of 64%, access to finance through branches, ATMs and other channels is another matter.
|Village Life in Rural China in Winter|
|Typical Grocery Store in a Chinese Village|