Citibank ups the ante in Nanjing
Updated: 2011-05-12 07:55
By Song Wenwei (China Daily)
NANJING - Citibank is continuing its expansion in China and expects fierce competition to heat up among foreign banks, who are eyeing a slice of the wealth and consumption in the Chinese economy.
"Citibank continues to perform strongly in 2011. We have excellent momentum in China and are well positioned for future success," said Stephen Bird, chief executive officer (CEO) of Citi Asia Pacific, during an opening ceremony for the US-based lender's branch in Nanjing on Wednesday.
Although competition is expected to drive innovation in services and product offerings, he said Citibank can help local companies globalize and help global companies localize.
Citibank is expected to benefit from the pickup in loans to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
"We believe we have the right people, the most innovative and customer-centric services, and the global network to compete strongly in Nanjing, and we look forward to serving institutional clients and individuals in Nanjing with the best of everything they need in banking," said Andrew Au, CEO of Citibank China and chairman of Citibank (China) Co Ltd.
With the rapid economic development, Nanjing has become one of China's key commercial hubs, connecting the surrounding cities of Zhenjiang and Yangzhou in Jiangsu province and Hefei, Ma'anshan and Wuhu in Anhui province.
Foreign financial institutions eager to tap into Nanjing's booming economy face stiff competition as more foreign banks have established their presence there, including Standard Chartered PLC and HSBC Holdings PLC.
"We will continue to give strong support to the SMEs in their growth plans, following the difficulties they experienced in accessing credit due to the 2008 global financial downturn," Au said.
"Our growth rate of loans to SMEs is higher than that of our other businesses," he said, adding that the percentage of loans to SMEs over the years had increased successively.
But he declined to disclose specific data.
The opening of Citibank's Nanjing branch is the lender's first step in increasing investment in Jiangsu province, one of the most affluent areas of China. Another branch will open in Wuxi, about 100 kilometers from Shanghai, in three months.
The Nanjing branch represents Citibank's 36th outlet in China. It is the latest state-of-the-art smart-banking outlet in China, the lender said.
"China is a key market for investment in innovation by Citibank.
This smart-banking outlet gives Nanjing consumers a new style of retail banking, which we believe will provide superior customer service experiences," said Anand Selva, the country business manager of Citibank China.
The smart-banking service in Nanjing employs advanced technology, including interactive video and wireless Internet.
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