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BRANCH BANKING | Tony Chua, China

HSBC to expand China presence

Lender to upgrade e-banking system as it is pushing for internationalization of renminbi.

Sensing significant potential for business expansion thanks to China's fast growing trade ties with neighboring countries and accelerated efforts to internationalize the renminbi, HSBC Holdings is set to boost its presence in the country, a top company executive said.

"In addition to our plan to open 15 to 20 branches in the mainland annually, we will invest more on building the e-banking system in China to bring more clients under coverage," Peter Wong, chief executive of HSBC Asia-Pacific, said in an interview.

Besides Hong Kong, the bank has prioritized the Chinese mainland, together with Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Singapore and Australia, as strategic markets in the Asia-Pacific region and it expects to see substantial profit growth in these countries and regions in the next few years, Wong said.

In tune with China's policy of actively trying to internationalize the renminbi, Wong said HSBC, which has more than 8,000 representative offices in 88 countries and regions, is well positioned to become the preeminent international bank in renminbi trade settlement and bond issuance.

"We have so far done renminbi trade settlements in 26 countries (and regions) and the bank's extensive international network gives us an advantage in doing such business," Wong said.

The mainland authorities announced a huge expansion of the renminbi cross-border trade scheme and lifted a raft of restrictions blocking the free flow of the renminbi in Hong Kong this year.

View the full story in People's Daily.

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