India home to Citibank cybermall

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BOMBAY -- Citibank in the next few weeks will become the first bank in India to introduce Internet shopping in the country. The Citibank Cybermall will allow Citibank cardholders to buy a panoply of products and services online from 50 merchants. Cybermall will count on business from Citibank's one million-plus cardholders who account for nearly half the card transactions in India.

"Citibank Cybermall will offer consumers a whole new choice in shopping by enabling them to order [on the Internet] what they want, when they want," says Ashoke Dutt, Citibank's Bombaybased global consumer bank head for India.

On offer are software, chocolates, groceries, airline tickets, flowers, movie tickets, greeting cards and vacations.

The U.S. bank, India's largest foreign bank whose presence in the subcontinent dates back to 1902, has already entered into alliances with Microsoft Corp., Intel Corp., Cyberglobe and to launch the Cybermall.

The deal for merchants is alluring, too. The merchants will be charged a token sign-up fee for a payment processing mechanism, a Cybermall web site with all bells and whistles, site hosting, and "assured heavy traffic" to their web stores.

"Through Citibank Cybermall, Indian merchants can now reach customers anywhere in the world," says a Citibank statement. The bank will also rely on expatriate Indians settled in other countries for business.

R.K.Swamy/ BBDO Advertising, Madras, Tamil Nadu, handles Citibank India card advertising.

Copyright September 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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