Here’s an interesting development in the world of finance… Citibank has apparently gained approval to issue a credit card in China. This makes Citi the first non-Asian bank to enter the market.
Citi has actually had a co-branded credit card in China since 2004, but those cardholders are technically customers of Shanghai Pudong Development Bank. Elsewhere in Asia, Citi has 16M credit card customers, but China…
Wow, what a huge market.
I haven’t seen any details regarding this card and, frankly, I know very little about the credit card market in China. I did, however, run across a 2009 article from the NY Times that talked about consumer debt problems in China due to banks “blindly” issuing credit cards. Sound familiar?
Apparently the number of credit cards issued in China tripled from less than 50M in 2006 to 142M in 2008, and a total of roughly 1.9B cards are believed to have been issued there since 1985.