Pingyao, the First Prototype of Modern Banks in China

Located in Pingyao County, Shanxi, the ancient city of Pingyao was built between 827 BC and 782 BC and was expanded in 1370 AD. It is a city with 2700 years of history, one of the best preserved ancient cities in China. In 1997, this ancient city was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO1.

The ancient city of Pingyao is the birthplace of the well-known Shanxi “Merchants”. Vibrant economic activities contributed to China’s prototype of modern banking “Ri sheng chang Piaohao” (日升昌票号)2, which was founded in 1824. This Piaohao was well developed and had set up branches in many provinces in China. In the 1940s, this ancient banking business further expanded into Japan, Singapore and even Russia. Leading and motivated by “Ri sheng chang Piaohao”, several piaohaos were created, and, therefore, Pingyao became the center of China’s financial industry at that period.


  1. Shijie wenhua yichan—pingyao gucheng, retrieved Febrary 26, 2014, from: []
  2. Piaohao, also known as Piaozhuang and Huidui Zhuang, is the name for financial institutions in ancient China. It provided bill exchanging services.  In the Qing dynasty, this institution also provided money deposit services. Its function is very similar to modern banks. []

OpenEdition suggests that you cite this post as follows:
gdri (February 27, 2014). Pingyao, the First Prototype of Modern Banks in China. EurasiaTrajeco. Retrieved July 15, 2024 from

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