Overseas banks reveal China expansion plans

2 April 2007

Four major investment banks have outlined their plans for expansion in China after approval was granted by local authorities to offer local currency services.

Standard Chartered Bank, Bank of East Asia, HSBC and Citigroup have all mapped out plans to compete in the fast-growing market, where $2 trillion is estimated to be held in household savings.

Following the announcement that Citigroup will up its branches in the territory to 30, Richard Stanley has outlined plans to issue Citigroup-branded credit cards alongside those jointly branded with its domestic partners and to underwrite domestic bond sales.

HSBC will be adding 30 branches in the next year to be staffed by an extra 1,000 employees, and will concentrate chiefly on offering premier banking services to clients $500,000 or more in their accounts.

Meanwhile, Bank of East Asia intends to be operating 100 branches in the territory in the next 20 years, while Standard Chartered will add a further 20 outlets within the year, bringing its total to 40.

Prior to the lifting of restrictions, foreign banks operating in China were subject to a raft of draconian regulations forbidding them from offering their own credit cards and limiting the size of deposits they could accept from a domestic customer to $130,000.

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