Established in 1965 and only 5 years later, the Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corporations (HSBC) first opened a representative office in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City). By August 1995, HSBC officially launched a full-service branch in Ho Chi Minh City and after a decade, it opened its second branch in Hanoi and set up a representative office in Can Tho. To fulfill commitments with WTO, Vietnam licensed HSBC to found its wholly owned incorporations, so along with Standard Chartered Bank, HSBC become the first foreign bank having its own commercial single-member liability-limited bank, named HSBC Bank (Vietnam) Ltd.
Since operating as a subsidiary bank, HSBC has participated deeply in financial markets with international banking services and the whole economy also. Presently, due to long-lasting history and comprehensive knowledge of Vietnamese culture and business convention, HSBC has laid a solid foundation in Vietnam with the role of the largest foreign bank in Vietnam given investment capital, network, product range, staff and customer base. Holding a 20% capital share of Techcombank and 18% of Bao Viet Holdings, HSBC has made important steps to approach the domestic bank market of Vietnam.
According to banking specialists, experience, good governance and abundant resources are strengths of HSBC, but they are also good points of other foreign banks. The high demand of foreign currency in general and the high demand to open trade accounts by foreign investors are main driving forces for the development of HSBC in particular and other foreign banks in general. However, the distinguishing feature of HSBC is the way it approaches the field of local customers, a very potential market share. The bank concentrates on its personal banking services.