Citicorp has applied to Chinese banking authorities to upgrade its representative office in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou to a branch.

If the move was approved, Citicorp would have five branches in China, the largest network among U.S. banks.Citicorp now has branches in Shenzhen, Shanghai, Beijing, and Pudong, the new Shanghai financial district. The bank also has representative office in Xiamen.

Stephen H. Long, country corporate officer for North Asia, said the bank is planning to apply for additional branch licenses in "other areas and other cities," but he added that no decision has been made. Most of the bank's business in China is in the corporate domain.

Citicorp got into banking in China in 1915, when it acquired the International Banking Corp., and had branches in 10 cities until they were closed during the Second World War. The bank reopened branches in Shanghai and Tianjin in 1945 but closed them again in 1950 and did not reopen an office in China until 1983.

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