The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the country\'s biggest lender by assets, said Thursday its first-half net profit rose 12.5 percent from a year earlier on growth in interest and fee income. Net profit for the six months to June 30 was 123.16 billion yuan ($19.39 billion), up from 109.48 billion yuan during the same period a year ago, it said in a filing to the Hong Kong bourse. The profit was higher than the average 122.67 billion yuan net profit forecast by five analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires. The bank\'s net interest income, which accounts for nearly 80 percent of its operating income, grew 16.9 percent to 204.06 billion yuan while net fee and commission income was up 1.9 percent. But ICBC warned of future challenges amid an uncertain global economic outlook. \"Currently the recovery of the world economy is slow and faces a complex situation, domestic economic growth has slowed,\" said ICBC, one of the mainland\'s big four lenders. It also warned that the banking industry \"is experiencing a profound change\". Another Chinese banking giant, the Agricultural Bank of China, on Wednesday posted a 20.8-percent rise in first-half profit, driven by interest income growth.