Liu Mingkang, like other top Chinese officials, spent his youth in revolutionary times. Now he's making a revolution of a different sort. As chairman and president of state-owned Bank of China, Liu sent shock waves through China's financial community when he released bad debt figures for the bank in May that showed almost 30% of Bank of China's loans were nonperforming.
It was the first time that a major Chinese bank had decided to classify its loans according to international norms and release the results for the world to see. A former vice-governor at the central People's Bank of China, Liu is using China's planned entry into the World Trade Organization as a stick to prod banks and financial industry officials into opening up the system. The next step will be the biggest of all: an initial public offering of shares of Bank of China's Hong Kong and Macao operations, the most profitable part of the bank, by early next year. Liu hopes the landmark transaction will further his revolution in China's financial system.