English: Cloze Test for Upcoming Exams – Set 121

Directions: In the passage given below there are 10 blanks. Every blank has four alternative words given in options (A),(B),(C), and (D). You have to tell which option is appropriate according to the context. If all are appropriate then mark your answer as “E”.

Chinese banks are not far removed from the age of the abacus. In the 1980s they used these ancient counting boards for much of their business. In the 1990s many bank employees had to pass a basic abacus test. Today the occasional click-clack, click-clack can still be heard in villages as tellers slide their abacus ____1____ and down the rack.

But these days the abacus is mainly a symbol, more likely to be used in the branding of China’s online-finance companies than as a calculating tool. At least three internet lenders have paid homage to it in their names: Abacus Loans, Small Abacus and Modern Abacus. The ____2____ , so recently, of the abacus is testament to how backward Chinese banking was a short time ago. The rise of the online lenders shows how quickly change has come.

By just about any measure of size, China is the world’s leader in fintech (short for “financial technology”, and referring here to internet-based banking and investment). It is far and away the biggest market for digital payments, accounting for nearly half of the global total. It is ____3____ in online lending, occupying three-quarters of the global market. A ranking of the world’s most innovative fintech firms gave Chinese companies four of the top five slots last year. The largest Chinese fintech company, Ant Financial, has been ____4____ at about $60bn, on a par with UBS, Switzerland’s biggest bank.

How did fintech get so big in China? The short answer is that it was the right thing at the right time in the right place. Even after Chinese banks ____5____ their abacuses, they remained remarkably unsophisticated for a high-speed economy. People accumulated wealth but had few good outlets for investing. Entrepreneurs were full of ideas but struggled to get startup loans. Consumers were spending but needed ____6____ of cash to do so. 

New technology offered a way to ____7____ over these many contradictions. During the past decade China became the country with more internet users than any other—more than 700m. A potential revolution beckoned but plodding state-owned banks were slow to respond. The terrain was open for battalions of hungry companies. Some entrepreneurs had roots in e-commerce, others in online gaming, many were just first-timers.

Today, the promise of fintech in China is great. It is shaking up a ____8____ banking system and helping build a more efficient one, especially for consumers and small businesses. But limitations are also clear. Banks are fighting back. And regulators, tolerant so far, are wading in. For years China has looked to developed countries for ideas about how to manage its financial system. When it comes to fintech, the rest of the world will be studying China’s experience.

The rise of fintech in China is most notable in three areas. The first, obvious in daily life, is mobile payments. China’s middle-class consumers, emerging as the internet ____9____, have always been inclined to shop online. This made them big, early adopters of digital payments. China also had a late-starter advantage. Developed economies long ago ____10____ cash for plastic (credit and debit cards). China was, until a decade ago, overwhelmingly cash-based.

  1. particle
    beads up
    All are correct
    Option D


  2. ambiguity
    All are correct
    Option B


  3. adjunct
    All are correct
    Option C


  4. scorned
    All are correct
    Option B


  5. put away
    blot out
    tucked away
    held back
    All are correct
    Option E


  6. wads
    All are correct
    Option E


  7. hurdle
    All are correct
    Option E


  8. exciting
    All are correct
    Option C


  9. add on
    took off
    All are correct
    Option B


  10. substituted
    All are correct
    Option E



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