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CHINA -- 7-Eleven licensee Guang Dong Sai Yi Convenience Stores Limited entered into a cooperative agreement with Citibank to install ATMs in selected 7-Eleven stores in China's southern region. 7-Eleven has approximately 250 stores in Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Dongguan and Zhuhai in the Pearl River Delta area.

"7-Eleven is pleased to be partnering closely with one of the world's leading retail banking brands, as we continue to find new means of better serving our customers," said Paul Mak, acting general manager of Guang Dong Sai Yi Convenience Stores Limited. "We believe this agreement will add a new dimension to our own service offering, giving our customers even more convenience."

It is expected that in the initial pilot phase of the agreement Citibank will install ATM's in eleven 7-Eleven stores in Shenzhen, with the first ATMs expected to be operational by November 2006, the company reported.

The agreement, once in effect, will generate significant benefits for customers of both Citibank and 7-Eleven, Citibank reported in a company press release. It will give Citibank foreign cardholders more access points to do their banking and to access cash. Ultimately it is hoped that Citibank's local customers will be able to utilize the ATMs, once regulations permit.

The agreement also gives 7-Eleven customers access to cash and ATM banking facilities around the clock.

"As the leading international bank in China, and one that is strongly committed to providing multiple channels of access to our products and services, Citibank is excited to have this opportunity to partner with 7-Eleven," said Lee Ah-Boon, country business manager for Citibank China. "This agreement comes at a time when Citibank continues to invest for the future and expand our network and brand presence throughout China."

The new agreement continues Citibank's track record of innovation in China. Citibank was the first bank to deploy foreign-card enabled ATMs in China, which it has been doing for more than a decade, and was the first foreign bank to enter the retail banking business in China in the post-WTO era when it opened its Peace Hotel consumer outlet in Shanghai in 2002, and currently has 12 retail outlets in six cities with several more in process.

Currently Citibank has 55 ATMs in China and expects to have 85 by the end of 2006.