Rishengchang Exchange Shop in the Ancient City of Pingyao [Photo/VCG]
Rishengchang Piaohao or Rishengchang Exchange Shop, which is thought to have been China's first bank, is located on bustling West Street in the Ancient City of Pingyao.
Founded by Lei Lyutai and Li Daquan during the reign of the Daoguang Emperor (1821-1850) in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), it was the country's first and largest draft bank which dealt with remittances.
The bank operated for over 100 years, with branches in 35 cities across China. Its business had even expanded to Europe, the United States, and many Southeast Asian countries. It is widely regarded to have been a pioneer in China's banking history, and almost half of Chinese financial transactions went through the bank in the 1900s.
These days, the bank is a museum with more than 20 exhibition halls, divided into two parts. Visitors are able to delve deep into China's banking history and learn about how people and businesses handled their finances throughout history.
The building is typical of the style favored by Shanxi merchants, with a classical style. As a three-courtyard compound, it combines the traditional features of local residential buildings and stores, and covers an area of over 1,300 square meters.
Address: West Street, Ancient City of Pingyao, Pingyao county, Jinzhong city, Shanxi province
Opening hours: 8:00 am-7:00 pm
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