Chinese banks face their 'iPhone moment'

The country's big banks risk drifting into mediocrity unless they diversify their products and services and keep up with consumer tech trends, an industry conference is told.
Innovate or be left behind.

That is the stark challenge facing China's state-owned lenders, an industry conference in Hong Kong was told on Friday.

Already evidence is building that the country's creaky financial system may be facing its own iPhone moment as upstart newcomers challenge the established order and threaten existing players who fail to keep up with new technology and shifting trends.

The profitability of Chinese banks, as measured by return on equity, has dropped to about 11% to 16% from 20% to 30% in just 10 years as changes in consumer behaviour and booming internet finance firms have gobbled up a growing...

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