Fri, Jan 09, 2009 - Page 11 News List

HSBC opens new centers for small and medium firms

By Joyce Huang  /  STAFF REPORER

The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp (HSBC, 匯豐銀行) yesterday launched three commercial banking centers in Taipei and Kaohsiung, targeting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

“We are targeting SMEs that operate in international trade,” Kenneth Cheng (鄭克家), head of HSBC’s commercial banking in Taiwan, told reporters yesterday.

Citing an internal survey, Cheng said that more than 30 percent of domestic SMEs have overseas branches, while 60 percent trade internationally, which would provide a clientele base.

The bank hopes to attract business with its strengths in trade finance, factoring services, credit insurance, currency hedging and cash management to provide financial solutions tailored to SMEs in the manufacturing sector.

Russel Liu (劉政瑩), head of the bank’s SME commercial banking division, said HSBC would open 10 outlets nationwide to serve SME clients with a staff of 90 bankers, most of whom were formerly employed by The Chinese Bank (中華銀行), which HSBC acquired in 2007.

Arjuna Mahendran, head of HSBC’s private bank investment strategy in Asia, said he was optimistic that the global economy would bottom out by the end of the year, although more bad news would come and the pace of recovery might not be as fast as expected.

However, many US companies have under-borrowed in recent years and are sitting on relatively big piles of cash to invest and hire staff, while many sovereign wealth funds are poised to invest, he said.

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