NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Citigroup ( C) is close to an agreement with a partner in China to set up a joint-venture securities business, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The deal would help Citigroup with its efforts to expand its business in emerging markets, and also would help the bank compete against increasingly assertive Chinese banks, the Journal noted.

Citigroup is expected to sign an agreement Orient Securities Company of Shanghai as soon as Thursday morning China time, the newspaper said. The deal would need regulatory approval.

The venture, following Chinese rules on foreign investment in the securities industry, can engage in equity and bond underwriting as well as M&A advisory services but wouldn't be permitted to trade in the secondary market.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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