Government & Military

Yi Gang

The central banker nudging China's financial markets toward openness.

Deputy governor, People’s Bank of China

The influence of Zhou Xiaochuan, the governor of China’s powerful central bank, appears to be waning; he is already past official retirement age. Yi Gang, who has pushed for a more market-oriented currency policy, looks to be Zhou’s appointed successor. In June, at the Strategic and Economic Dialogue, an annual high-level U.S.-China summit, Yi conspicuously stood in for the absent Zhou and announced that China will grant unprecedented levels of access to U.S. investors looking to put money into China’s financial markets.

Yi has long moved comfortably in and out of American society. He studied and lived in the United States for 14 years, earning a Ph.D. in economics at the University of Illinois and then later teaching at Indiana University. In April 2016, he sat with former Fed chairman Ben Bernanke on a panel at the D.C.-based Brookings Institution, speaking about Chinese economic and fiscal policy in fluent English. In early 2017, Yi stated publicly that it was “illogical” for U.S. officials to label China a currency manipulator; President Trump later backed down from that campaign threat.

(Photo credit: Wang Zhao/AFP/Getty Images)

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