Citigroup wins approval to launch credit cards in China

Citibank branch in Beijing Citibank has branches in 13 cities in China

The Chinese unit of Citigroup will be the first non-Asian bank to launch credit cards in China.

The US-based bank announced on Monday that the move had been approved by China's banking regulator.

Citibank (China) will offer credit cards to Chinese customers later this year.

Citi is looking to cash in on China's increasing consumption, and had already established consumer and corporate banking businesses in the country.

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

Until now, Hong Kong's Bank of East Asia was the only 'foreign' bank to offer credit cards in China.

Citi has offered 'co-branded' credit cards with Shanghai Pudong Development Bank (SPDB) since 2003.

Citibank has branches in 13 Chinese cities.

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