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HSBC launches yuan debit cards in mainland
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HSBC Bank (China) Co yesterday launched its debit cards in 17 Chinese mainland cities.

HSBC China card holders will also be able to use their cards at China UnionPay Co's domestic and overseas networks in about 50 markets after a deal signed yesterday.

And HSBC-branded ATMs in 40 markets will also accept the new debit cards launched in China.

The combined HSBC-UnionPay network offers the most extensive ATM access with a debit card issued by any foreign bank on the mainland, the company said.

"Our cooperation with UnionPay extensively broadens the geographic service coverage of our debit cards, delivering value-added convenience for our retail customers in China. We are very pleased to be a partner of UnionPay," said Richard Yorke, president and chief executive officer of HSBC China.

HSBC China's debit cards are able to link with up to three bank accounts, including a yuan account and up to two foreign-currency accounts.

Without annual fee charges, HSBC China debit cards allow holders to withdraw cash at ATMs domestically and abroad, make account enquiries or transfers using ATMs and make purchases at shops through UnionPay's 2.1 million point-of-sale machines in Chinese mainland and abroad.

HSBC's rivals, including Bank of East Asia, Standard Chartered Bank and Citibank, have already issued yuan-backed debit cards on the mainland.

Bank of East Asia is also poised to launch its credit cards on the mainland before the end of this year.

UnionPay, the nation's sole bank card transaction operator, was set up in March 2002 with a registered capital of 1.65 billion yuan (US$241 million) by 80-plus financial institutions, including the country's big-four state-owned banks and other major commercial lenders.

(Shanghai Daily November 18, 2008)

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