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Lending Tree: Understanding Chinese Bank Branch Growth in Foreign Markets

China’s four largest banks are setting up shop abroad. In 2020, these big state-owned banks actively managed over 500 foreign brick-and-mortar locations, up from fewer than 100 in 2007. McDowell’s study will explore what is behind Chinese bank expansion abroad while probing the implications of branch presence in these markets. The project will focus on the links between the the Belt and Road Iniative (BRI) and branch locations while also considering how branch presence may affect the use of China’s currency in cross-border trade settlement. Growing influence for Chinese banks around the world would mean increased competition for US financial institutions in those markets. In time, this could lead to a diminished role for the dollar in these economies, weakening the effectiveness of US financial sanctions.

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Daniel McDowell

Daniel McDowell is an associate professor of political science at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. His work focuses on the international politics of money and finance, with a focus on the role of the United States and China in these arenas. McDowell is the author of Brother, Can You Spare A Billion? The United States, the IMF, and the International Lender of Last Resort (Oxford 2017) as well as many peer-reviewed articles in top international relations journals. His second book, Bucking the Buck: US Financial Sanctions and the International Backlash Against the Dollar, is forthcoming with Oxford University Press.