Best Chinese Bank for the Greater Bay Area 2023
Bank of China (Hong Kong)
Bank of China (Hong Kong) continues to set the standards within the Greater Bay Area thanks to its solid credentials both onshore in China and offshore.
In 2022, BoC (Hong Kong) Holdings and its subsidiaries together raked in HK$27.1 billion ($3.5 billion) in profits attributable to equity holders, up 17.8% from the previous year. Net operating income and profits both rose more than 16% year on year, while BoCHK’s loans and deposits share also increased.
The strong financial results were partly thanks to BoCHK’s leading position in the GBA, where it not only held its own, despite difficult market conditions, but also innovated to stay relevant. This is why it wins two of Asiamoney’s GBA awards for 2023: best Chinese bank in the GBA and the best Chinese bank for the Wealth Management Connect, an initiative that allows investment in wealth management products within the region.
Several things came together for BoCHK: its digital pivot, its focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) and its ability to stay close to clients, guiding them through the worst of the crisis of the past couple of years.
BoCHK has picked up the pace in terms of digital development. It offers remote account opening for GBA clients and cross-border digital payment options. The latter, through BoC Pay, experienced a 30% jump in the number of customers and in transaction volumes in 2022.
In July 2022, BoCHK went a step further, unveiling a Wealth Management Connect Zone on its mobile banking app to provide online wealth management services. It introduced a 1+1+1 cross-team service model for WMC clients, meaning each client gets access to a virtual relationship manager, a wealth adviser and a cross-border specialist.
As a result, BoCHK has a prime position in both the northbound and southbound connect schemes – southbound referring to residents in the mainland GBA cities investing in wealth products in Hong Kong and Macau, and northbound referring to Hong Kong and Macau residents buying wealth products distributed by Chinese banks. BoCHK has a market share of over 60% on both, as measured by the number of WMC accounts.
It launched about 100 products on the WMC on its debut trading day, and now offers more than 150, many of which can be accessed over its online apps.
What is impressive is how BoCHK achieved all this. One important feature has been the strong collaboration between the various BoC offices in the GBA cities, setting the bank apart from rivals. This allows the bank to offer a one-stop seamless solution for clients across borders. Another is its hybrid online/offline approach, marrying top technology solutions with on-the-ground advisory and market knowledge from advisers. This is particularly useful when wealthy clients require complex solutions, for example with trusts planning and succession.
BoCHK’s ESG offerings stand out in the GBA. It has a broad selection of ESG funds, and client investment in these funds has been steadily rising every year.
The firm offers green time deposits in renminbi to its private wealth clients, an all-weather ESG multi-asset fund, a green mortgage plan and green personal loans.
BoCHK expects the GBA to get a further boost with more connect schemes, including for insurance products, and predicts the standard roster of wealth products will expand. It will no doubt be among the first batch of banks to test drive any new GBA initiatives.