Citigroup has become the first international bank to issue a solely-branded credit card in China. This represents a significant accomplishment in what is eventually expected to become the world's largest credit card market.
Citi's credit card will be accepted in China as well as throughout the world, so it will be available as a renminbi-denominated and a dollar-denominated card. Renminbi is the official currency of China.
For the cards used within China, China UnionPay will process the transactions. MasterCard and Visa will be Citi's processing partners for the cards used in other parts of the world.
The credit card market is exploding in China. According to a research study by RNCOS, the China credit card market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 31 percent between 2011 and 2014.
Chen Bin, the client business leader at MasterCard Advisors in China, predicted in 2010 that China will likely have 800 to 900 million credit cards by 2020, making it larger than the market in the United States.