Cards in China

Craig Karmin reported in today’s Wall St. Journal on the Chinese government’s emphasis on card payment systems.

Success also could depend on prodding Chinese banks to issue cards. So far, they have been slow to embrace credit, but looming competition may provide the spark. Beginning in 2007, foreign banks will be allowed to offer cards in which bills are calculated in the Chinese currency. Already, Citigroup Inc. has taken a 5% stake in China’s Shanghai Pudong Development Bank and, subject to regulatory approval, can increase its stake to 24.9%.

China hopes to learn from Korea — where card abuse followed similar initiatives.

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