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Frequently asked questions
What does HSBC stand for?
The HSBC name is derived from the initials of The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited, the founding member of HSBC.
When was HSBC founded?
The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation opened for business in Hong Kong on 3 March 1865.
Who founded HSBC?
The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation was the inspiration of Thomas Sutherland, then the Hong Kong Superintendent of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company. He saw a need for a locally based bank to finance trade in the region, and his proposal quickly attracted support from a wide spectrum of interests including American, Indian and European businesses.
What are the origins of the hexagon?
The hexagon symbol was introduced as part of the new corporate identity of The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation in 1983. It was developed from the bank's house flag, which had been in use since at least the late 19th century. This flag was a white rectangle divided diagonally to produce a red hourglass shape. Many Hong Kong companies established in the 19th century were set up by Scottish expatriates, and like many other company flags of that era, the design was based on the Scottish flag, the cross of St Andrew.
What is the significance of the HSBC lions?
Two lion sculptures can be found guarding many of the HSBC offices around the world today. The first pair of lions was created in 1923 for the new Shanghai office of The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation. They were soon nicknamed Stephen and Stitt after two senior managers of the bank – Stephen is the roaring lion. Following the popularity of the lions in Shanghai, a similar pair was commissioned in 1935 for the new Hong Kong head office building. This pair suffered shrapnel wounds in 1941 and were removed at some point during the Second World War by occupying forces. They were rescued, returned home and reinstated in October 1946.
When HSBC's new global headquarters was opened in Canary Wharf, London, it was only fitting that Stephen and Stitt were included in the design too. The lions at 8 Canada Square are exact replicas of the Hong Kong pair. Each lion weighs close to one ton – with eight lucky coins buried in the base as tradition dictates.
More about HSBC’s history