March 27, 2023

Urban China talks: Bank Proliferation in China

Open Zoom room (when sessions begin)


Mark your calendars and join us for an exciting line-up of urban China talks this spring!  
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The MIT/UBC/Harvard Urban China Talk Series is an internationally recognized seminar that hosts as speakers and in the audience many from the interdisciplinary community of scholars studying urban China, both those studying China from afar and those working within China.

Generally, the format is a focused 30 to 45 minute presentation, followed by approximately 30 minutes of Q&A. After the formal Q&A, speakers typically stay on to chat with any interested participants, especially the many graduate students conducting dissertation research on Chinese cities who join our sessions from institutions around the world.

This academic year, we are meeting on Mondays at 8:30 pm in the evening Boston time so as to be accessible for participants in China as well as in western North America.

The speaker series is made possible due to the generous sponsorship of the MIT Sustainable Urbanization Lab, the Harvard Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, and the University of British Columbia’s School of Community and Regional Planning. 

Next up:

Small Banks, Big Politics:

The Cause and Consequences of Bank Proliferation in China​​
by Adam Liu, National University of Singapore

March 27, 5:30 PST

The Henan bank protest, the Evergrande crisis, and the perennial local government debt issue in China all point to one thing: there’s something wrong with the country’s banking system and Beijing needs to fix it. In particular, it needs to better regulate the numerous small banks that are now so intimately intertwined with much of China’s economic challenges. Beijing is working on it but it’s hard to do. This talk explains why. First, the exponential proliferation of small banks in the past three decades is hardly a natural phenomenon of economic/financial development; it is the outcome of a grand historical central-local bargain that's difficult for current central leaders to upend. Second, and relatedly, many small banks have become the dominant players in local banking markets and are thus a crucial pillar of local economic development. Tight regulation and excessive punishment will therefore hurt local growth further in this difficult time. Beijing will have to juggle.
​Adam Y. Liu is assistant professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore. His main research interests include Chinese politics and political economy. He is currently working on a book project that explores how central-local politics drove the formation, expansion, and operation of what he calls a "state-owned market” in China’s banking sector. The project is based on his dissertation, which won the 2020 BRICS Economic Research Award. He received his Ph.D. in political science from Stanford University and was a postdoctoral associate with the Leitner Program in International and Comparative Political Economy at Yale University.

Get involved

  • To receive event reminders, consider signing up to Urban China's mailing list.
  • To see the collection of prior postings to the list, visit the Urban China Seminar Archives. (The current archive is only available to the list members.)


  • Mondays 5:30pm (Vancouver time) / 8:30 pm (Boston time) /
  • Tuesdays 8:30 am (Beijing time) thru October 24th / 9:30 am (Beijing time) thereafter


Zoom channel


March 27 Adam Liu National University of Singapore
April 3 Cai Meina University of Connecticut
April 10 Su Xiaobo University of Oregon
April 17 Zhang Jipeng Shandong University
April 24 Leif Johnson Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University
This event series is made possible due to the generous support of the MIT Sustainable Urbanization Lab, the School of Community and Regional Planning at UBC, and the Harvard Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies.
Sustainable Urbanization Lab logo
SCARP logo

Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies logo

Date & Time

Mon, March 27 : 5:30pm - Mon, April 24, 2023 : 5:30pm

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