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MasterCard ‘keen’ on China

May operate there by 2016, CEO says.

MasterCard is “keen” on taking advantage of opportunities in China and could establish domestic switching operations in that country by the end of 2016, Chief Executive Officer Ajay Banga said.

“It’s a large marketplace, and we are keen to play there,” Banga said Wednesday in a call with analysts. “We should expect to be in a position to switch in China sometimes towards the end of 2016.”

China’s government last week indicated it plans to end a monopoly in bank-card clearing, with new rules taking effect on June 1 that could open the way for Purchase, New York-based MasterCard and larger rival Visa Inc. to gain a foothold. Numerous steps remain before the market completely opens up and MasterCard can compete domestically, Banga said.

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