Japanese bank JCB International (JCB) plans to consolidate alliances with Hong Kong and mainland banks this year. The bank's managing director, Hitoshi Shioda, at the launch of the new Wing Hang JCB credit card yesterday, said that the Japanese bank was currently in negotiations with other local banks for further co-operative efforts. 'We don't know the [Hong Kong] market very well but [local banks] do. Our strategy is to co-operate with Hong Kong banks to tap into the market,' Mr Shioda said. 'More JCB cards will be launched [in Hong Kong] this year. We have targets to launch more than one card this year,' he said, adding that the bank would also increase co-operative efforts in China. It currently has partnerships with Bank of China and Bank of Shanghai. Wing Hang Bank is JCB's fifth alliance in Hong Kong. Its first partnership began in 1985 with HSBC. 'We hope to reach a target circulation of one million by the year 2010. So far we have less than half that number,' Mr Shioda said. 'This strategic alliance between Wing Hang Bank and JCB started half a year ago. This is our first credit card with Wing Hang and it will put JCB in a strong position as well as give us the opportunity to enter the credit card market in Hong Kong,' Mr Shioda said. The new Wing Hang JCB credit card was launched to tap into the market for professionals aged from 18 to 35. Hilda Ng Kwok-yan, Wing Hang's assistant general manager, said the card's target market was young, high-spenders who took frequent trips to Japan. 'This is our third credit card label to reach the market. JCB credit cards are accepted all over Japan and are more popular than Visa or Mastercard. Their network is broader in Japan, making it easier for us to enter the market. And more and more Hongkongers are visiting Japan every year. We are the first bank to target this market segment in Hong Kong,' she said.