The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), the country's largest commercial bank, saw its operating profit rise 21.5% year-on-year in the first three quarters of 2004. Profits hit US$6.9 billion for the nine months to the end of September, the rise coming despite worries about government lending restrictions eroding profits. The bank said it has restricted lending to overheated industries the State is trying to cool down, but had increased lending to companies with good business prospects, to small and medium-sized enterprises, and to consumers. The state-owned bank is preparing for an initial public offering slated for late 2006.
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