This is the first book to document in English the evolution of modern Chinese banking, from the establishment in 1897 of the first Chinese bank along a Western model, to the abrupt interruption of professional banking by the Japanese invasion in 1937. Drawing from original documents of major Chinese banks, Linsun Cheng explains how and why the banks were able, despite a succession of foreign and domestic crises, to grow into viable and self-sustaining institutions in China. Rich with new, unpublished historical details, this book offers an original, comprehensive narrative of the origins and growth of professional banks. This book provides a critical missing piece in the literature on China's ecomic history and modernization in the pre-war period. Cheng also recounts early experiences with Chinese banking reform that resonate today as useful lessons to Chinese policymakers assessing options for financial reform.