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China UnionPay had issued 500,000 corporate credit cards as of the end of May, the company announced Monday. Seventeen Chinese banks have issued corporate cards, which companies use for expenditures, according to a China UnionPay statement. Hua Zhang, a banking analyst for United States-based Celent LLC, tells CardLine Global he estimates banks will issue more than 1 million corporate cards by the end of 2008. Zhang estimates banks in the Hubei province will issue 80,000 corporate cards, while those in the Tianjin province will issue another 50,000, based on the number of companies in those areas. The growth rate for corporate card issuance over the next few months will be 25% or more, according to Zhang. He adds that the Chinese government was able to reduce expenses during a corporate test in which it used the cards. An Internet survey revealed 50% of Chinese citizens support the government's use of corporate cards, Zhang says.

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