According to media releases, Industrial & Commercial Bank of China has become the world's biggest bank in terms of value, forcing US finance giant Citigroup to drop down a position to second place.

Reuters reported a 2.68% surge in Industrial & Commercial Bank of China’s (ICBC) shares, giving the group a market capitalization of $254 billion, which beats Citigroup’s capitalization of $251 billion.

The rise in the value of ICBC’s shares has been attributed to China’s recent boom in its stock market, as well as to the bank’s strong financial performance, which saw a 2006 income of $24 billion, Reuters revealed.

According to Bloomberg, ICBC is China’s largest bank with 18,000 branches. The group’s lending jumped 10% in 2006, while profit in the first half of 2006 grew by more than 50%.