Beijing has warned banks about aggressively marketing credit cards in China after news that card debt has risen 126.5% in 2009, the South China Morning Post reported. The People’s Bank of China said yesterday that "bad debt problems should be closely watched," after revealing that more than US$1 billion of credit card debt was more than six months overdue by September this year. As of September 2009, mainland banks had issued 175 million credit cards, while card spending has increased by almost 40% since 2008. But despite Beijing’s concerns, analysts expect the issuance of credit cards to continue to grow as banks vie for a share of a lucrative market. "The default rate is set to jump since all banks are gearing up to expand the high-yield, while risky, business," said Haitong Securities analyst She Minhua. Mainland banks often persuade customers to get credit cards by offering free gifts such as toys, while also issuing cards to people with bad credit history.