Credit card companies including American Express (AXP) - Get Report  , MasterCard (MA) - Get Report and Visa (V) - Get Report will submit license requests to operate in China within months, Reuters reported.

The process will likely take quite a while, as the U.S. companies must pass regulatory scrutiny, security standards and set up extensive local infrastructure before they are permitted to operate in China.

China is poised to become the world's largest bank card market by 2020 with 9 billion cards in circulation. U.S. operators have waited for more than a decade to gain entry to the country. China first agreed to open the card market in 2015.

Visa, MasterCard and American Express shares all closed up Wednesday.

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