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China: Travelex gets green light

Bureau de change claims liberalization of country’s regulations.

Although Travelex has operated in China in a limited capacity since November 2005, the award to it of an authorised foreign exchange licence places the company in what could be a leading position to grab a large slice of the country’s tourist currency business.

The licence, which was signed by China’s prime minister, Wen Jai Bao, allows Travelex to operate independently and with the freedom to deal in any currency it chooses. It had previously operated as an agent for Chinese banks and was restricted to providing a service in only 16 currencies.

Travelex has 700 retail branches in 105 airports, making it the largest operator of bureaux de change in the world. The company claims that its new licence will enable Chinese nationals to buy and sell foreign currency from a non-Chinese business for the first time. It will also give Travelex more freedom over the setting of the exchange rates it provides.

"We are delighted to be the first recipient of this licence. We have been working closely with the Chinese government for some months now and we are honoured to have been given this significant opportunity," says Travelex’s chief executive, Ian Meakins.

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