Citigroup Inc plans to recruit around 3,000 new staff for its institutional business in Asia as it puts even sharper focus on the region's growth prospects. 

Citi's institutional business covers investment banking, and corporate and commercial banking units that provide various services including trade finance, cash management, payments, and custody services. 

"We're talking about real meat on the bones on growing our business across Asia," Asia-Pacific CEO Peter Babej told Reuters in an interview.

Most of the new staff will be in Hong Kong and Singapore, but also in India, South Korea, China and Australia where the firm has large institutional businesses.

A Citi spokesman told Bloomberg "Despite exiting retail banking outside Hong Kong and Singapore, this region remains front and centre of Citi's global strategy," he said by phone. "We've been in Asia for 120 years. We have a very strong local presence."

Citi has around $200bn in wealth assets in Asia, with the expectation of growing client assets by $150bn by 2025.