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World's top banks remain confident in China market

Updated: Apr 27, 2022 By SHI JING in Shanghai China Daily Print
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Photo taken on Sept 30, 2020 shows the street view of the Lujiazui area of Pudong, east China's Shanghai. [Photo/Xinhua]

Top global banks' confidence and long-term commitment to the Chinese market has not been impaired by Shanghai's temporary lockdown or short-term disruptions caused by the city's COVID-19 outbreak.

Mark Wang, president and CEO of HSBC Bank (China) Co Ltd, said it has already noticed the swift recovery in supply chains and orderly resumption of production in the city.

"We are confident in Shanghai's capability to control the pandemic as well as revive its commercial and economic vibrancy. The city's solid economic foundation, amicable business environment, as well as the openness and inclusiveness deeply embedded in the city's genes, are still of much attraction to multinational companies. Therefore, HSBC will still be rooted in Shanghai and serve China's economic development," said Wang.

Based on such a commitment, HSBC China launched on Friday its global private banking business in Shenzhen, aiming to expand its wealth management footprint in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. With that, HSBC's global private banking business covers four Chinese mainland cities: Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.

Public data showed nearly half of the foreign banks registered with Chinese central regulators have set up their regional headquarters in Shanghai.

Standard Chartered has noticed the difficulties that companies, especially small and micro-sized ones, have confronted due to lockdown measures. The bank has allowed small and micro-sized companies seriously affected by the pandemic to delay principal repayment by a maximum of six months.

In the meantime, the bank's Shanghai branch has made continued efforts to ensure the outbound businesses of its clients. For example, it produced over $1 million cross-border letters of indemnity for A-share listed Sieyuan Electric so it can maintain normal trade with its business partners in Pakistan, Zambia and Sri Lanka.

Considering China as "the most important and top strategic market", Standard Chartered has committed to investing $300 million in expanding its China-related businesses to capture opportunities arising from the country's continued opening-up, said the bank's executive vice-chairman and China CEO Jerry Zhang.

It is also applying to set up a securities company in Beijing, he said.

Also positioning China as a strategically important market in the Asia-Pacific region and globally, Credit Suisse, Switzerland's second-largest bank, has faith in China's long-term prospects given the continued opening-up of its capital market, said the bank's China CEO Janice Hu.

Despite current challenges, Credit Suisse continues to recruit in China to grow its franchise, said Hu.

All of its Shanghai entities are in a good position, which can be attributed to the new work model that its global headquarters started in May 2021 allowing employees to work with maximum flexibility. By ensuring its productivity under a time of disruptions, Credit Suisse has pledged to work with its China charity partner to support COVID-19 relief efforts in Shanghai.

Citi China said the impact of recent disruptions in Shanghai has been "insignificant", thanks mainly to the bank's ongoing digital transformation in corporate and commercial banking in China.

Ever since the latest outbreak in Shanghai, Citi has helped a STAR Market-listed company with urgent international payments. It also helped a multinational company with a capital injection into in a Shanghai-based subsidiary.

Despite short-term uncertainties, Citi is confident in the Chinese financial market where its clients "increasingly want access".

The bank said it will hire at least 100 women tech professionals in China this year, with some of them based in the bank's technology hub in Shanghai's Pudong New Area. The Chinese mainland and Hong Kong will make up over 50 percent of new recruitment in the Asia-Pacific area for Citi's commercial bank business in the next three years, it said.

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