Citigroup Inc. has applied for a securities license in China, according to a person familiar with the matter, as the New York-based banking giant eyes a bigger presence in the world’s second-largest economy.
The bank recently submitted its application to the China Securities and Regulatory Commission, the person said. Citigroup is also planning to apply for a futures license in the coming months and intends to hire around 100 people in mainland China in the next two years to support its expansion onshore, the person added.
Having its own securities license would allow Citi to underwrite yuan-denominated stock and bond offerings, and handle trading of these securities.
Citigroup is joining a rush by global banks to set up businesses in China that they control, after ownership restrictions that were in place for years were lifted following the signing of a trade deal between Washington and Beijing in early 2020. China now allows foreign financial institutions to establish wholly owned units dealing in securities, futures and asset management.
Both JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. were approved to take full ownership of their local securities ventures this year, after buying out stakes from their Chinese partners. Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse and UBS Group AG have also obtained majority control of their local securities units.
"We continue to assess opportunities that will support our global and local clients’ onshore business," Citigroup said.
Write to Jing Yang at Jing.Yang@wsj.com