Citigroup To Issue Credit Cards In China

China used to require western banks to co-brand with Chinese operators. But now Citi can sell its own plastic, just as credit cards become more popular. Rising incomes are boosting consumer spending.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And let's move now, from paper promises, now, to plastic. That's our last word in business.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Citigroup says it has become the first Western bank with permission to issue credit cards under its own brand in China. Until now, China required western banks to co-brand with Chinese operators.

INSKEEP: Now Citi can sell its own plastic, just as credit cards become more popular. Rising incomes are boosting consumer spending. Citi executives called this development a significant milestone, which gives them an edge, they say, in the world's second largest economy.

MONTAGNE: And while they do not yet have political rights, Chinese consumers do have the right, now, to use a slice of their income paying interest charges and fees.

And that's the business news on MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne

INSKEEP: And I'm Steve Inskeep.

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