This week, Citibank (China) Co. Ltd. ("Citi") announced that it has received approval from the China Banking Regulatory Commission to launch a credit card business in China. The business will encompass both retail and commercial cards, and is expected to be launched sometime in 2012.
Stephen Bird, Chief Executive Officer, Citi Asia Pacific, said, "This approval represents a significant milestone in the continued expansion of Citi's business in China, a priority market for Citi. Our business in China continues to perform strongly across both institutional and consumer lines, and our ability to introduce a credit and commercial card proposition adds to our healthy growth momentum in this key market."
Andrew Au, Chief Executive Officer, Citi China, said, "Citi is a global pioneer and leader in the bankcards arena. We have a dynamic consumer banking business and a broad-based institutional business in China and the ability to offer retail and commercial cards provides Citi with a strong competitive edge, further meeting the needs of our expanding customer base."
This approval comes on the heels of several Citi innovations in China last year. In 2011, Citi expanded to three new cities in China, and rolled out 12 new "smart banking" consumer outlets, including the first by any bank at an airport in China. Citi also opened its fourth lending company in China, a model designed to provide credit to individuals and small business owners in smaller towns in China. Citi's "China Desk" initiative, under which Citi sends senior Chinese bankers to strategic locations around the world, also expanded from the locations of Hong Kong, Singapore, London, and New York, to include Dubai, Johannesburg, Nigeria and Algeria.