[CHINA] Foreign Banks Aplly to Expand Services
- Foreign banks apply to expand services in China
From the Associated Press
BEIJING Eight banks have applied to become the first foreign
institutions licensed to handle retail business in Chinese currency,
the government said as a WTO deadline for opening its banking market
Seventy-one foreign banks are represented in China but most were
limited until now to handling foreign-currency business.
Beijing agreed to open the market as part of its World Trade
Organization membership commitments. Its own banks have been racing
to modernize in preparation for facing foreign competitors.
Banks that have applied for retail licenses are Citigroup Inc. of the
United States, Japan's Mizuho Corporate Bank, Britain's HSBC Corp.
and Standard Chartered, Dutch bank ABN Amro Holdings, Singapore's DBS
Bank and Hong Kong's Bank of East Asia and Hang Seng Bank, according
to Chinese regulators.
Rules that took effect Monday give them access to the local-currency
retail banking business, in theory lifting all geographic and client
restrictions on operations. Previously, foreign banks were allowed to
offer such services on a limited scale in 20 major cities.