China's banking regulator said it had received eight applications from
foreign banks for local registration, which it would begin processing on Monday,
a first step in granting national treatment.
"The China Banking Regulatory Commission will examine the applications
carefully and make appropriate determinations," the CBRC said in a statement on
its Web site on Sunday.
The mainland issued new foreign bank guidelines on November 16 to fulfill its
obligations for entry into the World Trade Organization, which stipulates that
the country must further open its banking sector to overseas competition from
The new rules state that foreign banks seeking local incorporation must have
paid-in capital of 1 billion yuan ($128 million), a drop in the bucket for banks
such as Citigroup Inc, the largest US bank with a market value of $245 billion.
Along with Citigroup, rivals HSBC, Standard Chartered and ABN AMRO are also
known to have submitted applications.
Regulators will decide on the applications within six months, although they
can extend the decision for another three months.
The foreign banks must have been open for business for at least three years
and profitable for two years prior to the application, said the regulator.
If the applications are approved, the foreign banks will be allowed to engage
in full-scale renminbi, or yuan, business, said the CBRC.