LENDING & CREDIT | Jason Oliver, China

Chinese banks ready for credit card war

They musn't be reading the same newspapers as us, because China Minsheng Bank is planning to issue 15 million credit cards over the next three years.According to a Shanghai Daily report, China’s first privately owned bank plans to double its credit card circulation from approximately seven million in 2008. Yang Ke, president of China Minsheng’s credit card center, said the bank broke even last year with its credit card business which started in 2005. Compared to an average of 3 to 4 percent internationally, bad loans of China Minsheng’s credit card division registered at 1.23 percent at the close of the previous year.Seeing huge potential in China’s consumer credit market, Yang said, "The market is far from saturation as some academics predicted."142 million credit cards were issued by banks in China at the end of last year, 57.7 percent more than those issued in 2007.

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