BOOK LAUNCH: China's Banking Transformation: The Untold Story

DISCUSSION: “China’s Future: Patterns of the Past”. Panelists James Stent, Endymion Wilkinson, and Joe Horn-Phathanothai, moderated by Chris Baker



This is the first book on Chinese banking that is written by someone who has served for a number of years within not just one, but two, Chinese banks. The book challenges the consensus foreign view of Chinese banking as fragile and dysfunctional and places contemporary Chinese banking within a context of traditional Chinese culture and a broader market socialist economy dominated by the Communist Party. It compares Chinese banking today with both Chinese banking pre-1949, and also with banking systems at similar stages of development in other Northeast Asian nations.

Stent advances three propositions in this book: Chinese banks have transformed over the past 15 years into professional entities adhering to most aspects of international banking best practice; they serve a utilitarian function within China’s political economy; and they are embedded in a traditional Chinese cultural framework.

James Stent served for 13 years on the boards of China Minsheng Bank and China Everbright Bank in Beijing, and is presently on the board of the XacBank in Mongolia. Altogether, he has been engaged in commercial banking in Asia for more than four decades, starting with Citibank and Crocker National Bank in the Philippines, Hong Kong, and Thailand, prior to joining the management of a Thai bank in Bangkok. Stent now divides his time between residences in Bangkok and California. Fluent in Chinese and Thai, he studied economic development at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University.

Program: Jim Stent will give a 15-minute overview of and readings from China’s Banking Transformation: The Untold Story. This will be followed by a panel discussion on “China’s Future: Patterns of the Past”, moderated by scholar Dr. Chris Baker, Honorary Editor of Journal of the Siam Society, and author with Dr. Pasuk Phongpaichit of numerous highly regarded books on Thai politics and Thai history. Dr. Baker and Mr. Stent will be joined by China experts Dr. Endymion Wilkinson and Mr. Joe Horn-Phathanothai. Dr. Wilkinson was EU Ambassador to China, author of Chinese History: A new Manual, and in 2014 the recipient of the prestigious Stanislas Julien Prize for an outstanding work of Sinology (previous winners of the prize have included James Legge, Aurel Stein, Edwin Reischauer, Arthur Waley, and Mark Elvin). Mr. Joe Horn-Phathanothai is CEO of Strategy613, which provides consulting services on business and finance to multinational clients in Thailand and China. The book will be the basis for a wide-ranging discussion of China’s political economy today and where it is headed in the next few years.


Date: Wednesday, 18 October 2017
Time: Reception: 7:00 – 7:30 p.m. Panel discussion: 7:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Place: The Siam Society Auditorium, 131 Asoke Montri Rd, Sukhumvit 21

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The Siam Society is deeply grateful to the James H.W. Thompson Foundation for its generous support of the 2016-2017 Lecture Series.