(Fixes headline to read American)
BEIJING, Jan 8 (Reuters) - China's central bank said Wednesday that it had accepted an application from a unit of American Express Co (AmEx) regarding starting operations in China.
The application status was revealed in an official social media post from the People's Bank of China (PBOC). It did not elaborate on when it will approve the start of operations.
AmEx won approval from the PBOC to clear card payments in November, 2018, making it the first U.S. card network to gain direct access to what is set to be the biggest bank card market by 2020.
It requires a final nod from the PBOC to begin operations.
China aims to open up its credit card payments market to foreign companies after a decade of lobbying from foreign players seeking direct market access.
The approval of a licence allows the company to process and settle payments in yuan domestically by setting up its own network with its Chinese joint venture partner, LianLian Group. (Reporting by Cheng Leng and Ryan Woo; editing by Jason Neely)