Bloomberg News

HONG KONG - Chase Manhattan Corp. has agreed to sell its Hong Kong credit card and retail banking unit to Standard Chartered PLC for $1.32 billion of cash.

The sale lets the U.S. banking company leave the Asia-Pacific retail market as it moves resources into wholesale and investment banking through the recent acquisitions of Britain's Robert Fleming Holdings Ltd. and Australia's Ord Minnett Securities Ltd.

Antony Leung, chairman of Chase Asia-Pacific, said the decision to sell the business makes sense given the company's focus on investment banking and asset management.

Standard Chartered, a U.K. banking company with most of its assets in Asia, is getting a business that boosts its card base by 740,000, to 1.9 million - 25% of the market - pushing it past HSBC Holdings PLC, to No. 1 in the Hong Kong credit card market. HSBC had 1.2 million card customers at the end of last year. The deal also would give Standard Chartered the chance to offer mortgages and investments to its new clients.

"They're getting a high-quality credit card business with a customer base of young professionals," said Justine Shih, an analyst at Commerzbank Securities in London. "You catch them young and cross-sell to them - credit cards are a massive business" in Hong Kong.

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