HSBC in Hong Kong

The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited is the founding member of the HSBC Group. Established in 1865 to finance the growing trade between Asia and Europe, it has become the biggest bank incorporated in Hong Kong.

The bank provides a range of personal, commercial and corporate banking financial services across Asia. HSBC is known in Cantonese as “Wayfoong”, which means “focus of wealth” or “abundance of remittances.”

HSBC’s history

HSBC’s founder, Thomas Sutherland, was a Scotsman working in Hong Kong for a large shipping firm. He saw that better banking facilities would support Hong Kong’s commercial growth. Sutherland’s vision was for a new bank, owned and managed locally, which would support international trade.

On 3 March 1865, HSBC opened for business at 1 Queen’s Road, Central. The bank built a succession of modern head offices on the site. The third generation head office, completed in 1935, was the first air-conditioned building in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong’s economy was dominated by shipping and merchant trading. To stimulate and accelerate this trade, HSBC issued banknotes in Hong Kong and mainland China, which were trusted by local merchants as a stable currency. HSBC quickly became Hong Kong’s principal note issuer and remains so today.

The bank faced its greatest test during the Second World War. Most of its Asia network closed and many staff were interned. The bank survived because of large reserves and prudent forward planning, for example deciding to move the head office to London. When the war ended, the head office moved back to Hong Kong and the bank supported the city’s reconstruction, including lending money to restore public utilities, reopen the port, and restart the Star Ferry service.

HSBC aided Hong Kong’s reinvention as a postwar manufacturing centre, granting loans to build cotton mills and textile factories. At the heart of this industrialisation lay the bustling district of Mong Kok, where HSBC opened a branch in 1948. To better serve Hong Kong’s growing population, the bank began expanding its retail branch network throughout the territory.

From the late 1950s the bank began to grow and diversify by acquiring other banks, including Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Bank in 1965. Responding to the Chinese government’s ‘Open Door’ policy in 1979, the bank opened a representative office in Guangzhou as many of its customers began to relocate their operations from Hong Kong to mainland China. HSBC continued to invest and grow in Hong Kong and the surrounding region into the 21st century.

Hong Kong remains the headquarters of The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, and the bank is committed to the future of its birthplace.

Financial information

For Group’s financial information please visit the investor relations section on our global corporate website. Please visit Subsidiary company reporting page for Hang Seng Bank Limited and The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited and the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited - Macau branch. Please note this is English language only.

The Hongkong Bank Foundation

Established in 1981 by HSBC, The Hongkong Bank Foundation has supported over 10,000 philanthropic projects which aim to foster innovative ideas, tackle social and environmental issues, and enable progress in underserved communities in Hong Kong.

Current headquarters

To support the bank’s growth into a global financial institution, HSBC invested in new headquarters. Lord Norman Foster’s design was a demonstration of the bank’s commitment to Hong Kong.

1 Queen’s Road Central

The all-steel structure stands 180m high across 52 floors, 4 of which are subterranean. The building broke many construction records and included many design innovations.

  • The lifts were built with technology used in the NASA space program and were originally transparent.
  • The 1 million square feet of steel ‘skin’ wrapped around the structure was the biggest cladding project ever attempted.
  • The building has 62 escalators, which at the time of construction, was the most on any single site in the world.

The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited Board of Directors

Board of Directors (PDF, 24KB)

For details about HSBC’s global operations and Group board members, go to our corporate website . Please note this is English language only.

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