Citigroup to double China branches to 100

Citigroup has announced late on Sunday it is to increase its China presence to a hundred from the current 47 within two to three years, according to the CEO for Asian operations, Stephen Bird.

Doubling the branches will help speed up its drive into China's card business and an imminent securities joint venture.

According to Bird, Citigroup has benefited from its endeavours to help Chinese institutions widen their and products as it has achieved approval for its own undertakings in the process.

The bank bought stakes in Chinese companies in an attempt to position itself among the most influential lenders within the market. But it has proved difficult after China's government repudiated the attempt by banks to grow their holdings. Citigroup has held a 2.7 percent share in Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, with which it commenced a credit card venture.

City has recently acquired its own card license in China, which may now lead to the sale of its stake in Shanghai Pudong Development Bank.

Bird also informed the FT it is to launch a securities joint venture in 2012 with China Orient.

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