HSBC ramps up Asia pivot as COVID-19 pandemic hammers profits

HSBC ramps up Asia pivot as COVID-19 pandemic hammers profits Photo

HSBC on Tuesday vowed to accelerate its Asia pivot despite spiralling tensions between China and the West after it reported a 30 per cent plunge in profits for 2020 caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Fourth-quarter profits were halved to $2.2 billion but beat estimates, helped by the lender keeping costs down as part of a major restructuring it has already embarked on.

The results came as HSBC published a new strategy laying out plans to speed up its attempt to seize more of the Asian market—the region of the world where the Europe’s largest lender makes most of its profits.

The strategy will see the London-headquartered bank plough some $6 billion into shoring up operations across Asia, with a particular focus on targeting wealth management in the increasingly affluent region.

As a result, it has found itself more vulnerable than most to the crossfire caused by the increasingly frayed relationship between China and western powers—especially after Beijing imposed a draconian security law on Hong Kong last year.

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