Best International Bank for the Greater Bay Area 2021
HSBC’s deep roots in Hong Kong, a strong onshore and offshore China franchise and its global network put it in an ideal position to serve as a bridge between mainland Chinese companies and residents, and those in Hong Kong, Macau and globally. These strengths make it Asiamoney’s debut winner of the best international bank for Greater Bay Area award.
One of the standout features of HSBC’s GBA business is its commitment to the region. The bank set up its GBA office in February 2021 to capture the opportunities in the region, and appointed veteran banker Daniel Chan as head of the Greater Bay Area, a newly created role, with effect from March. Chan has more than 30 years’ experience, and spent the previous 15 years in senior commercial banking positions in Hong Kong and Singapore.
But HSBC’s involvement in the GBA goes back further. Over the years, HSBC has established a presence that is the envy of its rivals, backed by its 42,000 employees in the GBA. That has given it an edge when serving the needs of the 86 million residents living, studying, working and travelling in the region.
HSBC was the first among its international peers to expand into Guangdong, a province in south China, almost four decades ago: since then, it has set up 61 outlets in the area.
HSBC’s unparalleled distribution network and retail client base have put the bank ahead of the competition when it comes to addressing the rising banking and wealth management needs in the region, including multicurrency savings and time deposits, investment products, brokerage services and insurance solutions.
As connectivity within the GBA increased, HSBC rolled out what it refers to as its Card Connect service (where dual-currency credit card users can enjoy extra rewards and fee waivers on foreign transactions) and its Mortgage Connect service, for customers buying property in the GBA.
Complemented by its leading asset management capabilities, HSBC is preparing for the official launch of China’s Wealth Management Connect pilot scheme. It has mobilized 5,000 fully trained staff across the GBA to support the scheme’s imminent launch and plans to hire another 300 to 400 frontline wealth professionals as business grows.
In commercial banking, HSBC is already the partner of choice for many multinational corporations and industry leaders. But the bank has also set its sights on better serving the cross-border needs of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
In April, it brought out a first-of-its-kind mobile platform, the HSBC GBA WeChat mini programme, tailored to the cross-border needs of the region’s SMEs. It also launched an $880 million dedicated debt-financing fund – the GBA technology fund – for new economy startups in the region.
HSBC has ambitious growth targets too. The management team hopes its SME client base in the Pearl River Delta will grow 10-fold within five years, thanks to improved account-opening and payment processes, as well as its one-stop banking service and credit packages.
The signs are already good: in the first half of 2021, new SME account opening jumped 150% from the same period a year ago.
HSBC’s global leadership in trade finance and liquidity and cash management is also evident in the GBA, as is its strength in global banking and markets. HSBC is a top bond house and M&A adviser in Asia, with a solid presence in ECM: it has helped many GBA-based financial institutions and corporate issuers to establish and maintain their capital market access, and to expand their businesses. Its GBA clients include Cifi Holdings (Group) Co, Lufax Holding and Ping An International Financial Leasing.
HSBC’s China investment banking capabilities are bolstered by its majority-owned joint venture HSBC Qianhai Securities, which has worked on landmark deals, for example for financial services firm Haitong Securities and for WH Group, a meat-processing company formerly called Shuanghui Group.