Emergence of Modern Rural Financial Institutions in the Warlord Era: 1912–28
In this chapter we explore the early institutions of the Republican era and the attempts by the Chinese government to obtain credit in support of China’s agricultural economy. The most significant effort was the establishment of the Agricultural and Industrial Bank in 1915. This was unique at several levels in that the banks could issue bonds to finance agricultural development, and also raise capital in support of a variety of credit associations—the first we believe where cooperative credit was linked to a bank charter. To understand the state of China’s financial system we also provide some background into the politics before and after the end of the Qing dynasty in 1911 and the start of the Republic in 1912. Events include the loss of tariff autonomy to the ‘powers’ following the Opium Wars, the imposition of likin, and the tumult of the warlord era. Only when these major elements of political economy have been considered can the challenges to developing a financial system in the early Republican era be understood.