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China’s economic ties with the rest of the world are going from strength to strength. Chinese overseas direct investment doubled from $60 billion in 2010 to USD120 billion to 2017. Chinese organisations bought stakes in more than 6,000 overseas companies last year.
But doing business abroad is not always straightforward due to the challenges in getting up to speed with the local legal system, banking practices and customer expectations. That’s why HSBC has set up specialist desks around the world to provide tailored advice and support.
“Our role is to bridge any gaps and support our customers to make outbound business easier for them,” says Victor Wang, HSBC’s China Desk Manager in London, who facilitates outbound trade and investment from Chinese companies into Europe.
He continues: “We support a wide spectrum of companies ranging from a couple of million dollars to tens of billions of dollars. We can help with anything they need to make their businesses work – from advice on mergers and acquisitions through to more basic services like account opening.”
HSBC’s network of China desks has grown since its official launch in 2012 to cover a broad geographic range, with the 25th desk – located in Israel – opening earlier this year. To date, the China desks have supported clients in sectors including energy, real estate, healthcare, chemicals and technology.
Helen Wong, Chief Executive, Greater China, HSBC, says: “When Chinese companies go overseas, obviously they have identified an opportunity. But most of the time they may not know the local environment too well. They require experts to tell them what’s happening and to tell them how they can maximise their opportunity.”
Although their primary focus is supporting Chinese organisations, the desks can also help foreign companies who want to do business in China – providing information and advice on the local culture, legal system and business conditions.
Demand for advice and support from the desks is likely to continue to grow. China is already the world’s largest exporter of goods and its share of global merchandise trade is set to rise further between now and 2030, according to HSBC forecasts.
Policy moves such as China’s Belt and Road Initiative – a multi-year project to improve overland and maritime links with more than 65 trading partners around the world – are likely to further boost trade and investment in the years to come.