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Citigroup Asia CEO: Citi Orient JV Aims to Become No. 1 China Investment Bank

SHANGHAI--Citigroup Inc. (C) aims for its new joint venture in China to eventually become the number one investment bank in the country, Stephen Bird, Citigroup's chief executive in the Asia-Pacific region, said Monday. The joint venture with Shanghai-based Orient Securities Co. will allow the U.S. bank to engage in equity and debt securities underwriting in mainland China, Citigroup said in a statement earlier in the day. Citi Orient Securities Co. has registered capital of 800 million yuan (US$126 million), with Citigroup holding a 33.3% share in the venture, the regulatory ceiling for a foreign firm's stake in investment banking business in China. Mr. Bird told reporters that the new joint venture will do mergers and acquisitions business as well as underwriting and will look at industries including energy, automobiles and entertainment. He said he doesn't believe the joint venture is a latecomer to China's domestic capital market, despite coming after the formation of local joint ventures by several other international banks. "China needs a much larger capital market...In ten years, 2012 will just look like a beginning," he added. Write to Li Yue at yue.li@dowjones.com Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires

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