Rishengchang Bank, the earliest bank of China, is located on West Street in Pingyao Ancient City.

During the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1644 – 1911), Shanxi merchants developed long trade routes through China and abroad, with Pingyao at the middle of the trade. At that time, Chinese paid everything with silver and copper coins, same the traders. It was unsafe and inconvenient to carry them from one city to another. In 1823, the first bank, Rishengchang (means sunrise and prosperity) was opened. It offered remittance, deposits and loans services. It had over 40 branches in key Chinese cities, Japan, Korea, Mongolia and Russia. Rishengchang got the reputation of Huitong Tianxia, which means the silver, copper coins and the bank drafts could reach every part of the country. Then, more and more banks were opened. Soon, Pingyao became the nation’s finacial center, with over 50% national banks headquartered in Pingyao. Rishengchang survived for 108 years then closed in 1932.

We will visit this original Rishengchang Former Bank today to feel the Shanxi merchants’ glorious history.