Foreign banks launch Internet banking in mainland China

Foreign banks launch Internet banking in mainland China

HSBC, Bank of East Asia and Hang Seng Bank have each launched online banking operations in mainland China.

HSBC subsidiary Hang Seng Bank is offering "personal e-banking services" for customers of the bank’s four branches in Guangzhou, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Fuzhou. In Hong Kong, Hang Seng's 250,000 online banking users account for 12% of the bank’s total transactions.

Bank of East Asia's Internet banking service, BEA Cyberbanking, is available to all account holders in mainland China. Customers may operate up to 12 registered accounts through their BEA Cyberbanking account, which can be used to transfer funds, make account enquiries, check interest and foreign exchange rates, manage time deposits, and send remittance instructions.

BEA will be vyeing with HSBC to establish a leading online position among Chinese banking customers. With nine branches nationwide, HSBC has the largest branch network among foreign banks in mainland China, and recently moved its China head office from Hong Kong to Shanghai. Earlier in the year, the bank began offering foreign currency services for mainland Chinese citizens and companies and has also launched its Premier services accounts in Shanghai and Beijing.

Dicky Yip, chief executive China business at HSBC comments: "The launch of internet banking services here has opened a new chapter for HSBC’s personal financial services in mainland China. We aim to build on the group’s successful Internet banking experience in many countries around the world, and provide quality online services to customers in the China market."

HSBC currently claims over 4 million registered online banking users in 19 countries and territories worldwide.

Both BEA and HSBC are claiming to be the first foreign banks to offer Internet banking services on the Chinese mainland. They are expected to be joined soon by other banks - including Citibank, Singapore's Overseas Union Bank and Standard Chartered - as China progressively opens its doors to overseas institutions.

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