Reported in Reuters recently, Citigroup Inc has received permission from the Chinese regulators to allow them to issue credit cards. This milestone announcement meant that Citigroup is the non-Asian bank which is able to issue credit cards in China. With that, they are now able to deepen their footprint in the country. They currently operating out of 13 Chinese cities but until now, they are unable to start credit card operations and thus issue credit cards.
With this announcement, Citigroup is also able to further entrench itself in Asia. With a footprint consisting of 16 million cards in Asia at the end of 2011, this announcement will enable them to tap on China's extremely huge and fast growing urban population. While foreign banks have had presence in China for quite some time now, regulatory difficulties meant that they were unable to expand their operations as fast as they would like. With this loosening of control on their financial regulations, foreign banks hope to be able to benefit from the path with Citigroup has blazed before them.