Bank of America to launch credit card in China

22 September 2006

Bank of America says it will launch a Chinese credit card with partner China Construction Bank next year as part of its Asian expansion plan.

The US banking giant joins Citigroup and HSBC in the emerging and highly competitive Chinese credit card market.

"I'd be disappointed if we didn't have something up and running sometime next year," chief executive Ken Lewis told Reuters.

He said the bank is in the process of organising the structure of its arrangement with Construction Bank, of which Bank of America bought a $3 billion stake last year which is now worth more than $8 billion.

Banks are fast entering the credit card and wealth management markets in China, whose bank sector opened fully to overseas competition in December.

China also boasts personal savings of nearly $2 trillion and economic growth of more than nine per cent.

Mr Lewis said Bank of America was expanding its cards businesses in Canada, England and Spain as it ponders entering other European markets

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