China's state banks make money "far too easily" and their monopoly on financial services has to be broken if cash-starved private enterprises are to get timely access to capital, state media cited Premier Wen Jiabao as saying on Tuesday.
Wen's comments, carried on China National Radio, come days after Beijing gave the go-ahead for financial reforms in Wenzhou - known as the country's cradle of private enterprise - that will encourage private investment in local banks.
"Frankly, our banks make profits far too easily. Why? Because a small number of major banks occupy a monopoly position, meaning one can only go to them for loans and capital," China National Radio quoted Wen as telling local businesses at a roundtable discussion.
"That's why right now, as we're dealing with the issue of getting private capital into the finance sector, essentially, that means we have to break up their monopoly," the radio news service reported Wen as saying on its website.
The 69-year-old premier is set to step down next year in China's biggest leadership change in a decade.