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Citigroup CEO pledges to Beijing to continue China expansion


By Selena Li

BEIJING (Reuters) -Citigroup’s CEO Jane Fraser said the bank will continue to expand its business in China during her first visit to the country this week as the U.S. firm’s chief, amid Beijing’s push to attract more foreign capital.

Fraser held a meeting with the head of China’s new financial regulator on Monday, the National Financial Regulatory Administration (NFRA) said in a statement on Wednesday.

Fraser and accompanying executives said they are “fully confident in China’s economic and financial growth” and Citi “will play to its strength and continue to expand its business in China”, according to the NFRA statement.

It was her first trip to China since taking up the CEO role in March 2021 and follows a visit by J.P. Morgan’s chief Jamie Dimon last week,and other global financial executives’ visits in March.

Most of the CEOs were reluctant publicly express their enthusiasm in growing their China business, as they tread a fine line between showing commitment to China and not antagonizing the United States.

Citi currently offers corporate and institutional banking, global markets, wealth businesses and other banking services in China.

The U.S. lender started winding down its retail banking business in China last December due to a global strategy shift, a move set to impact about 1,200 local staff.

China will open up its financial sector further, Li Yunze, chief of China’s financial regulator told Fraser.

China’s municipal governments and business officials have been trying to attract foreign direct investments through their trips overseas since late last year as they scramble to hit growth and employment targets.

The bank is in the process of applying to set up a securities brokerage in China.

Fraser is the first foreign executive to meet Li since he assumed the role in May, leading a regulator overseeing China’s multi-trillion dollar financial industry, excluding the securities sector.

(Reporting by Beijing newsroom and Selena Li in Hong Kong; Editing by Nivedita Bhattacharjee & Shri Navaratnam)

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