China's banks are open

Chinese 100 Yuan

TEXT OF STORY

SCOTT JAGOW: China opens its banking market to foreign companies today. New rules allow foreign banks to offer their services in China's currency for the first time. More now from Ruth Kirchner in Beijing.


RUTH KIRCHNER: Some 70 foreign banks are represented in China. So far only eight have applied to open retail operations under the new rules.
CHARLENE CHU: Foreign banks recognize that this is one of the last frontiers in the arena and they see this as holding long-term potential.

Charlene Chu of Fitch Ratings says foreign banks want to tap into a market with some $4 trillion U.S. dollars in savings.

CHU: This is a banking market that is growing very fast on its own. So if you want to acquire a larger share of a fast-growing market you have to grow yourself very, very fast.

But Chu also says Chinese customers might be reluctant to shift their money to an unfamiliar foreign bank.

However expectations are that in the long run customers will be won over by the list modern products and services not available at the domestic banks.

In Beijing, I'm Ruth Kirchner for Marketplace.

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