China will launch pilot programmes to trial privately owned banks in Tianjin, Shanghai, Zhejiang and Guangdong.

Five private banks have been approved for trial with each being backed by two firms as investors. These firms include e-commerce companies Alibaba and Tencent Holdings, as well as manufacturer Wanxiang China Holdings, airline operator JuneYao Group, Fosun International, Shenzhen Baiyetuan Investment, Tianjin Shanghui Investment, Hubei Group, Chint Group and petrochemical and plastics conglomerate Huafeng Group.

The banks will be expected to operate independently and according to market principles. As of yet, there is no timetable or any estimates on the intended size of the banks.