The birth of a bank
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, helping to finance trade between Europe and Asia.
We have been supporting our customers for more than 150 years. Today, we serve around 39 million personal, wealth and corporate customers worldwide in 62 countries and territories.
The experiences of the past century and a half 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.
The bank 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.
Learn how a local Hong Kong bank became one of the world’s largest financial services organisations.
Our history in depth
Visit the HSBC History website to explore the bank’s rich and colourful heritage in depth, and access our unique archives.
The opening of China
How Guy Hillier cemented HSBC’s reputation in China at the turn of the 20th century.
Local staff, local knowledge
HSBC staff from many different backgrounds have contributed to the bank’s success.