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Company history

HSBC was born from one simple idea – a local bank serving international needs. In March 1865, HSBC opened its doors for business in Hong Kong, and today we serve around 51 million customers in 73 countries and territories.

The experiences of the past 150 years have formed the character of HSBC. A glance at our history explains why we believe in capital strength, in strict cost control and in building long-term relationships with customers. HSBC has weathered change in all forms – revolutions, economic crises, new technologies – and adapted to survive. The resulting corporate character enables HSBC to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

HSBC's 150 anniversary
HSBC's 150 anniversary

Hong Kong harbour, with the HSBC office on the left, a few years after it was established in 1865. Right, the harbour today, with the HSBC building on the same site.

The HSBC Group: Our story

How a local bank in Hong Kong grew into a global financial institution.

Anniversary sculptures

HSBC has commissioned two sculptures to mark 150 years since the bank started trading.

Did you know?

  • HSBC's red and white hexagon symbol was developed from the bank's original house flag which was in turn based on the cross of St Andrew.

  • The HSBC lions are nicknamed Stephen and Stitt after senior managers from the 1920s.

  • The first business recorded in the first current account ledger is still a customer of the bank today.

  • The comic author P G Wodehouse, creator of Jeeves and Wooster, spent two years working at HSBC’s London office. He was recorded as being late for work 20 times in his first year.

More about HSBC’s history

HSBC's history

How a local bank in Hong Kong grew into one of the world's biggest financial institutions.

HSBC's archives

Our archives reflect the bank's long and eventful history. Find out what's in the collections and how to access them.

Online gallery

View the latest display of historic photographs from our company archives.

Frequently asked questions

Learn about the founding of HSBC, the significance of the lions and the origins of our hexagon logo.