Tropical Geography ›› 2020, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (4): 709-720.doi: 10.13284/j.cnki.rddl.003235

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Regional Disparity of Financial Inclusion in ChinaDetermining the Relationship between Geographical Inclusion and Business Inclusion

Zhenfa Li1(), Wensheng Lin3, Yaling Ye1, Canfei He2()   

  1. 1.College of Urban Planning and Design, Peking University, Shenzhen 518055, China
    2.School of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
    3.Peking University-Linoln Institute Center for Urban Development and Land Poliy, Beijing 100871, China
  • Received:2019-07-22 Revised:2020-01-21 Online:2020-07-31 Published:2020-08-11
  • Contact: Canfei He;


Financial inclusion is important for all sectors of society, and ensuring that both urban and rural residents have access to various types of financial services is the cornerstone to developing an optimum financial system. Based on data obtained from commercial bank branches (provided by the China Banking and Insurance Regulation Commission), this study aims to analyze the spatial and temporal differences between areas with respect to financial inclusion within China, determine whether establishing physical bank branches can increase financial service usage, and ultimately determine whether geographical inclusion can lead to business inclusion. The findings are as follows: different types of commercial banks have distinct spatial distributions. In this respect, compared to the prevalence of Large State-owned Commercial Banks (LSCBs), Joint-Stock Commercial Banks (JSCBs) and Foreign Commercial Banks (FCBs) are preferentially located in eastern areas before spreading to inner regions and then from the middle to western regions. City Commercial Banks (CCBs) have much fewer branches than LSCBs and their branches tend to be established in eastern China, because only relatively developed cities are capable of opening their own CCBs. Rural Commercial Banks (RCBs) are more common than CCBs and are mainly located in rural areas within counties and townships; RCBs are more usually established in such areas because the degree of urbanization in western areas is much lower than that in eastern and central regions. Based on the distribution, a system GMM model is adopted to determine whether geographical inclusion promoted business inclusion during the period from 2005 to 2017; the findings are as follows: 1) the establishment of physical branches typically increased the use of financial services, but there were variations in the promotional effects of the different commercial bank types throughout the various economic areas and during different periods. 2) In the eastern region, JSCBs and FCBs were major forces that continuously promoted usage, whereas the effect of LSCBs was unstable and they only exerted a positive influence between 2009 and 2012. 3) LSCBs and CCBs played key roles in the northeastern area, but the promoting effect of the latter only emerged from 2009 (slightly later than that of the former). 4) LSCBs and JSCBs significantly improved business inclusion in the central region throughout the research period, whereas both LSCBs and RCBs improved business inclusion in the western area; the promoting effect of RCBs occurred in 2013 (which was significantly later than that of LSCBs). The spatial and temporal disparities are related to two factors: first, the geographical differences between promoting effects relate mainly to the spatial distribution of bank branches and the service preferences of customers. For example, it is possible that LSCBs are more popular in the northeastern area because the risk-adverse characteristics of customers drive them to adopt services provided by state-backed and controlled agencies. Second, the temporal variations relate to the banks being established in different periods and the timing of guidance policies.

Key words: financial inclusion, geographical inclusion, business inclusion, commercial banks, China

CLC Number: 

  • F832.2