Cebu remains a major market for HSBC
Carlo S. Lorenciana (The Freeman) - February 5, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corp. (HSBC) still considers Cebu as a key market, as it continues to see a bustling economic activity here.

HSBC Philippines president and CEO Graham FitzGerald said the bank's presence in Cebu is among its "important investments" in the Philippines.

“Our investment in Cebu is seen as one of the major and important investments of HSBC Philippines, given Cebu as the fifth most populated city in the nation, is a bustling metropolis, and is a significant center of commerce and trade in the Philippines," the official said in a statement yesterday.

"We aim to blend the best technology with the power of our people, to provide first class banking – to both our retail and corporate customers,” he said.

The company's optimism towards Cebu reflects its bright prospects for the Philippine economy in general.

HSBC noted that with infrastructure seen a key sector in the current administration’s public spending, China’s Belt and Road Initiative presents opportunities for government-backed funds looking for investments in big infrastructure projects and private equity funds looking for better returns abroad.

Amid a rapid rise in the complexity of global supply chains, the global bank said the Belt and Road Initiative presents the growing interest in inter and intra-regional trade, and as more of China’s Belt and Road projects are put together and funded, more infrastructure projects around the Southeast Asia including the Philippines will benefit from the financing activities.

This is what makes the Philippine economy attractive to internationally-focused companies, the bank said.

The Southeast Asian region's buoyant growth, its increasing trade and investment flows, its inhabitants’ rising affluence and big infrastructure investment plans, present opportunities for the Philippines as "these will fuel demand for financial services" such as savings, insurance and asset management services, financing, capital raising and transaction banking services.

The UK-based bank also noted the rising number in the Philippines, with one of the youngest, most digital savvy populations, which puts the nation in an exciting position to capitalize on the digital transformation.

"To have the right technology, people and the ability to connect customers to these opportunities locally and internationally, will be favorable to the Philippines and the rest of ASEAN," HSBC said.

Last quarter, the Philippine economy grew 6.1 percent, slower than its gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the past three years but still among Asia's fastest. (FREEMAN)

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