Industrial & Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) has planned to increase its number of credit cards in circulation by 30% to 30 million this year, the Oriental Morning Post reported. The bank had issued 23 million credit cards as at the end of last year. According to McKinsey & Company, a consultancy, credit cards will emerge as the second most lucrative banking business in China after mortgages, with profit expected to be worth US$1.6 billion by 2013. China credit card issuance soared 140% to 70 million last year as banks made efforts to take a larger share of the market by canceling annual fees and offering free gifts to new customers. Credit card spending totaled US$87.54 billion (RMB630 billion) last year. ICBC Shanghai also launched IC credit cards Monday. Credit cards with integrated circuits are more secure than magnetic cards, but costlier. It is also seeking retail and hospitality partners with good credibility to issue co-branded IC cards.

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