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HSBC China completes key acquisition deal

Lender acquires Citi's retail wealth biz to further tap Chinese mainland market

By Liu Zizheng and Liu Zhihua | China Daily | Updated: 2024-06-12 09:19

Visitors gather at HSBC's booth during the sixth China International Import Expo in Shanghai in November. PHOTO/CHINA DAILY

HSBC China has completed the acquisition of Citi's retail wealth management portfolio in the Chinese mainland, HSBC said on Tuesday.

The portfolio of investment assets and deposits, and associated wealth management customers — covering 11 major Chinese cities — has been integrated into HSBC China's Wealth and Personal Banking operations. Over 300 employees have also joined HSBC.

Experts said the move indicates HSBC's intense focus on the promising prospects of the asset management business in China, as well as foreign investors' strengthening confidence in China's real economy.

Zhou Maohua, a researcher at China Everbright Bank, said foreign institutions see great potential in China's financial market because its economy is expected to grow steadily over the long run, and the country has continuously advanced high-standard opening-up in its financial sector.

Zhou said that in recent years, China has accelerated the improvement of its legal system and regulatory requirements, aimed at fostering a world-class business environment.

There also exists ample room for foreign investors to carry out more cross-border investment and financing services, Zhou added.

Dong Ximiao, chief researcher at Merchants Union Consumer Finance, said China has further optimized the allocation of its financial market resources, which has injected impetus into the sector's sustainable development.

In addition, as household incomes in China continue to increase, more opportunities have emerged in the country's wealth management market and foreign financial institutions have been provided with broader space for further development, said Dong.

Mark Wang, president and CEO of HSBC China, said the lender has confidence in the growth potential of the China market and has been making substantial investments in the country — particularly into the fast-growing wealth management sector.

"Completion of this deal enabled us to further strengthen our competitive edge among foreign banks providing wealth services in the country. Going forward, we will keep supporting our clients both at home and abroad to seize opportunities from connecting China and the world economy, fully leveraging our capabilities in cross-border financial services," Wang said.

Zhou said greater engagement by foreign institutions in the Chinese market could help meet Chinese consumers' diversified needs for financial services.

Zhou added that amid both cooperation and competition with foreign institutions, Chinese financial institutions could also accelerate the enhancement of their operational capacity and efficiency, thus better serving the real economy.

HSBC China and Citi first announced the deal in October, and the latter plans to exit consumer banking businesses across 14 markets, including Asia, Europe and Mexico, as part of its strategic refresh.

Citi has now closed sales in nine of those markets including Australia, India, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Citi's institutional businesses in China are excluded from the sale. Citi said it remains focused on serving institutional clients in China locally, regionally and globally.

As part of a previously signed agreement, Citi will also transfer its remaining credit card portfolio in China to Fubon Bank China later this year.

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