HSBC underlines commitment to Chinese market

6 March 2007

Europe's largest bank HSBC has announced it will continue to expand its interests in China.

HSBC chairman Stephen Green told shareholders at an annual conference that in particular he intends to boost the banks involvement in its existing partnership with Bank of Communications (BOCOM).

The London-based bank's commitment to Asia was underlined by the recent announcement that the bank had paid $2.2 billion for a 19.9 per cent in BOCOM.

That deal followed HSBC's acquisition of large shareholdings in the Fujian Industrial Bank, the Bank of Shanghai and the Ping An Insurance Company, as the firm continues its expansion in the territory apace.

The increasing importance of the Asia to American investment banks and HSBC was underlined when the bank announced that $4.5 billion of its $22 billion pre-tax profits in 2006 coming from the Asian market.

BOCOM is China's fifth-largest bank and announced it February that it intends to use its links with HSBC to improve its presence in the retail banking sector.

The deal that saw HSBC acquire its stake in BOCOM was the first time ever that a domestic bank entered into partnership with a foreign lender.

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