[IMGCAP(1)]

The Peoples Republic of China has granted Citibank China Co. Ltd. permission to

issue debit cards directly throughout the country, Citibank announced Wednesday.

Shanghai-based Citibank China has worked with China Union Pay Data

Services, China's largest third-party bankard processor, to outsource debit card

transaction processing offshore.

China's approval means Citibank China can issue debit cards in yuan, the country's

currency, directly to the bank's retail customers. Citibank China has not scheduled a date

to begin direct issuance of the cards.

Andrew Au, CEO of Citibank China, said he is happy with the decision. "We are

delighted to have been granted approval to launch debit cards in China," Au said in a

statement.

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