Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Citi wins OK for Chinese credit card

@CNNMoneyInvest February 6, 2012: 10:29 AM ET
A Hong Kong office of Citibank, which won approval to issue its own credit card in China.

A Hong Kong office of Citibank, which won approval to issue its own credit card in China.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Citibank won approval to issue its own credit card in China, making it the first non-Asian bank to enter that market.

The approval from Chinese banking authorities was announced by the bank's parent, Citigroup (C, Fortune 500), Monday. The card is expected to be issued sometime later this year.

"This approval represents a significant milestone in the continued expansion of Citi's business in China, a priority market for Citi," said Stephen Bird, CEO of Citi's Asia Pacific unit.

Citi has had a co-branded credit card in China since 2004 through a joint venture with Shanghai Pudong Development Bank (SPDB). But those card holders are considered to be SPDB's customers, not Citi's. Citi has 16 million other credit card customers elsewhere in Asia.

The Bank of East Asia, based in a Hong Kong, is the only other bank from outside of China that's permitted to issue cards by itself in the country.

The United States, through the World Trade Organization, been pushing China to open its market to U.S. credit card and debit card issuers without the use of domestic joint venture partners which the Chinese regulators typically require.

For example, last month Citi won approval to establish a joint-venture securities firm in China, together with Orient Securities Company Ltd. The entity, Citi Orient Securities Co Ltd, will be based in Shanghai, and will engage in investment banking business in the Chinese domestic market, including securities underwriting, as approved by China Securities Regulatory Commission.

General Motors (GM, Fortune 500) is another example of a U.S. firm that is forced to operate only with joint venture partners. It has the leading share of the rapidly-growing Chinese market for autos, which is the now the largest in the world. But virtually all those sales are through various joint ventures that GM has with Chinese automakers. To top of page

Index Last Change % Change
Dow 23,526.18 -64.65 -0.27%
Nasdaq 6,867.36 4.88 0.07%
S&P 500 2,597.08 -1.95 -0.08%
Treasuries 2.32 -0.04 -1.74%
Data as of 8:20am ET
Company Price Change % Change
GGP Inc 23.34 -0.01 -0.04%
Regions Financial Co... 15.56 -0.10 -0.64%
KeyCorp 18.16 -0.12 -0.66%
Citigroup Inc 72.26 -0.12 -0.17%
Coca-Cola Co 45.84 0.06 0.13%
Data as of Nov 22
Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed3.80%3.78%
15 yr fixed3.14%3.14%
5/1 ARM3.52%3.43%
30 yr refi3.78%3.76%
15 yr refi3.12%3.14%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
Find personalized rates: