Market capitalisation: $141.4 billion
Yet another Chinese state-owned bank in our list. Bank of China is the third largest and the oldest of of the 'big four' and the only one to predate the 1949 foundation of the People's Republic of China.
The Bank was founded in 1912, shortly after the formation of the Chinese Republic. For many years it was China's central bank, but in 1948 it was replaced as the central bank by The People's Bank of China and began life as a purely commercial enterprise.
It is the most international of the Chinese banks, operating in some 27 countries, including lesser economic lights such as Zambia, Hungary and Panama.