Citigroup CEO Charles Prince said this morning at a press briefing in Beijing that his company may add more than 10,000 employees in Asia in the process of its expansion there through expansion and acquisitions. Citigroup now generates 20% of its income from Asia -- compared with competitor HSBC's 41%. It plans to increase its market presence there by buying Taiwanese Bank of Overseas Chinese and Japanese Nikko Cordial Corp. Prince said Citigroup would increase its Chinese branches from 16 to 30 by year-end, mostly in eastern coastal cities. Citigroup and three other foreign banks including HSBC were approved last week by Chinese regulators to incorporate locally, allowing them to start accepting deposits in yuan from Chinese citizens. Citigroup currently employs 3,000 Chinese, and considers it one of its most crucial international markets. In November, it acquired 20% of Southern-China lender Guangdong Development Bank. Citigroup shares have lagged competitors Bank of America and JPMorgan & Chase Co. as has its profit growth; over the past year, Citigroup stock is up 7% vs. 10.4% for BoA and 15.1% for JPMorgan. Shares were down 0.20% yesterday to $50.96.
Sources: Financial Times, Bloomberg
Commentary: Citigroup Advising Barclays on ABN Amro Bid • Citigroup May Report Restructuring Plans ahead of Q1 Earnings -- WSJ • HSBC, Citigroup, Get Key Approval for Chinese Banking
Stocks/ETFs to watch: Citigroup Inc. (C). Competitors: HSBC Holdings plc ADR (HBC), Bank of America Corp. (BAC), JPMorgan & Chase Co. (JPM), Deutsche Bank AG (DB), Credit Suisse Group (CS), Barclays PLC (BCS). ETFs: PowerShares Dynamic Banking (PJB), streetTRACKS KBW Bank (KBE)
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