Citi Announces Agreement to Sell Citi Cards Japan to Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank

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Citi today announced that it has reached a definitive agreement to sell 100% of the shares of Citi Cards Japan, Inc. (hereafter Citi Cards Japan), the exclusive issuer of Diners Club cards in Japan, to Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, Limited (hereafter Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank).

Approximately 743,000 customer accounts of Citi Cards Japan (as of February 28, 2015) will be included in the sale. The financial terms of the transaction are not material to Citi. The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2015, subject to customary closing conditions.

From now until closing, there will be no change in the way Citi serves its cards customers in Japan. Citi and Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank agreed to cooperate to ensure a smooth transition of the business to Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, and for the continued offering of products and services to customers of Citi Cards Japan.

The sale represents another step in Citi’s strategy of further streamlining its Global Consumer business, which was announced on October 14, 2014.

Following the sale, Citi will continue to deliver the power of its unrivalled global network to its Japanese and non-Japanese corporate, institutional and governmental clients in Japan. Citi will serve these clients by focusing on its corporate and investment banking, markets and transaction services businesses.

“This is a positive outcome for Citi, as well as for the employees and customers of Citi Cards Japan. This decision furthers Citi’s global strategy of focusing our resources where we feel we have a competitive advantage. Citi has been in Japan since 1902 and it continues to be an important market for Citi,” said Citigroup Japan Holdings CEO Peter B. Eliot.

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Hilton Expands Welcome Program for Chinese Travelers Globally

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Hilton Worldwide today announced the expansion of Hilton Huanying (huān yίng) – a program that offers Chinese travelers a customized hospitality experience during their stay – to more than 110 Hilton Worldwide properties globally. As Chinese citizens make up the world’s largest outbound travel market1 and are continually evolving in their needs, Hilton has updated the Huanying program amenities and service standards. These offerings meet the needs of the modern day Chinese traveler, while maintaining the comforts that harken back to home. With this expansion, Hilton Huanying – deriving its name from the Chinese word for ‘welcome’ – will now greet guests at participating hotels under brands including Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts and DoubleTree by Hilton in more than 30 countries and 65 cities popular among Chinese travelers, including Tokyo, Seoul, London, Paris, New York and San Francisco.

“Huanying is an essential part of the Hilton hospitality promise, welcoming Chinese travelers with a level of service and personalization we know they expect and enjoy,” said Rob Palleschi, global head, full service brands, Hilton Worldwide. “Since being introduced in 2011 at 51 properties in 13 countries, Huanying has empowered more than a million Chinese travelers to explore new destinations with the comforts of home. We are very proud of this program, and the benefits are clear. Chinese travelers who stay at Huanying properties express a greater overall satisfaction in their hospitality experience.”

Chinese outbound travel is expected to grow at an unprecedented pace, with the number of outbound Chinese travelers expected to double from 100M to 200M by 20202, and Hilton is responding by enhancing its Huanying program. Through its extensive field research, Hilton has discovered that Chinese guests who stay at participating properties expressed a substantial increase in customer satisfaction in areas including service, accommodations, property loyalty and overall experience. In fact, a third party survey found that Hilton is the preferred hotel brand amongst Chinese travelers3.

“Driven by our in-depth knowledge of China, where we have been operating hotels for over 25 years, and our position as a global hospitality company with over 4,300 hotels operating in 94 countries, we have a unique advantage in addressing the needs of the Chinese travelers,” said Martin Rinck, president, Asia Pacific, Hilton Worldwide. “With this in mind, we applied our comprehensive understanding of where Chinese travelers like to visit and what they look for when they stay at a hotel, in order to develop a tailor-made service that better meets the needs of our Chinese guests, in the form of Hilton Huanying.”

In order to continue to best serve the needs of the evolving Chinese traveler, Huanying program offerings have been expanded to include additional locations, expanded traditional breakfast options and a 24-hour interpretation service that Mandarin-speaking guests may access during their travels.

These offerings were added while maintaining Huanying’s focus on three signature hospitality touch points: the arrival experience, guest room amenities and the breakfast experience. 

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