HSBC, established in Hong Kong and Shanghai in 1865 to facilitate China’s international trade, remains the world’s biggest trade bank today. For us, the BRI is a unique opportunity, given our deep roots in China and our presence throughout the world.
China’s increasing participation in international trade and investment impacts our clients around the globe, whether they be suppliers, contractors, bidders, partners or financial investors. We provide essential services for Chinese companies expanding abroad, such as mergers and acquisitions advice, capital markets financing, project finance and advice, working capital, cash management, trade finance and foreign exchange. Our ability to bring these solutions together and deliver them across multiple markets is one of our key strengths. Already, HSBC serves over 1,250 Chinese holding-company groups in more than 50 markets globally.
Being a global bank means we can support both sides of the deal. In a sizeable construction project in Egypt, for instance, we participated in a transaction led by the Chinese financial institution ICBC.
With a footprint across the key markets for the BRI in Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, Europe and Latin America, we understand the markets where opportunities are opening up and are uniquely positioned to help businesses make the best of them. Our universal banking model enables us to meet the different needs of every type of customer and offer a uniquely holistic approach to BRI opportunities, with product and client coverage teams that work closely together to provide solutions that support customers’ relevant financing, investment, payment and trade strategies.
‘HSBC prides itself on being a relationship bank, and this too is key to our engagement with the BRI. We facilitate connections both through our global network of 26 wholesale banking China desks dedicated to serving clients "going out" and through our knowledge of the China market as the leading international bank in mainland China and the leading bank in Hong Kong SAR.’ We can help businesses to identify opportunities through these connections, as well as providing them with the latest market insight from our award-winning research team comprising 350 analysts. Our leadership in Asia and around the globe puts us in an ideal position to help businesses then leverage these opportunities, facilitating cross-border trade and capital flows.
HSBC’s uniquely holistic value proposition for the BRI also extends to serving the growing number of people seeking opportunity overseas in connection with the initiative: we bank over 850,000 mainland-Chinese individual customers overseas and have an international network of ten China desks for retail customers.
We believe the BRI will be an increasingly important driver of global trade and investment in the decades ahead, bringing benefits to China and its partners. As with any ambitious endeavour, it poses risks and challenges, and its first six years show the complexity that comes with overseas infrastructure projects. As the BRI moves into new countries and domains, including digital initiatives, there will be more lessons to learn. The 2019 Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation gives us reason to be confident that BRI 2.0 can indeed achieve its goals of being “open, clean and green”, promote the movement of goods, people, capital and ideas and usher in a new phase of globalisation.