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HSBC Ltd. and China-based Bank of Communications Co. Ltd. are close to signing a deal that would transfer their current joint credit card activities to a newly established joint-venture company, the London-based bank says in a statement. The two banks operate the Pacific Credit Card unit in China they established under a credit card cooperation agreement signed in October 2004. The unit, which operates as a Bank of Communications business, had issued more than 11 million credit cards as of 30 Sept. HSBC holds a 19.01% stake in Bank of Communications. The banks will transfer the existing credit card operations to the new joint venture, to be called the Bank of Communications & HSBC Pacific Credit Card Co. Ltd. The company will have an initial registered capital of 2.5 billion yuan (US$366.1 million or 246.8 million euros), the statement says. Bank of Communications will have an 80% stake in the joint venture, while HSBC will have a 20% stake. "The transaction remains subject to regulatory approvals," a spokesperson for HSBC tells CardLine Global. "The cards that will be launched under the new venture will be yuan-denominated and China UnionPay-branded."

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