HSBC Sets Sights On Startups

By Nayantara BhatThe first thing a founder needs to think about when working on a startup is how to handle the finances. Opening a bank account can be tricky and tiresome, involving dozens of obscure documents that are hard for a new business to get. While many big banks are investing heavily in tech and startups, HSBC is taking a more hands-on approach.

HSBC Hong Kong has recently introduced a line of banking services tailored to new enterprises in a move to help young companies grow and do business more efficiently. Things like opening bank accounts have become streamlined and simple – according to Head of Business Banking Daniel Chan, 70 percent of new account openings every month are companies that are less than one year old.

“We want businesses to enjoy the benefits of newer technology,” Chan says. “Since last year, we’ve been launching quite a lot of new services on the digital side, and making banking relevant.”

The bank has dedicated a team to do the rounds at coworking spaces in Hong Kong until September 7. In addition to introducing new financial services into their repertoire, HSBC has also been hosting seminars and training sessions for startups to familiarize themselves with new technologies.

The team responsible for spreading the word about HSBC’s new banking solutions is a mobile set-up, where the team visits different coworking spaces across the city and discusses their products and services with startups face-to-face. A large part of their work is also spreading the word about the process of opening an account at HSBC.

“We provide a YouTube video explaining what the bank needs. We’re also being more flexible in terms of gathering more information [...] without asking for a lot of documents, which a startup may not be able to provide,” Chan says.

Amongst other things, the bank has introduced cloud-based accounting software and enabled users to check their balance using WeChat when in China. HSBC has also debuted a chatbot for SME clients called “Ask Amy”.

A key part of HSBC’s strategy for catering to startups is to engage them fully in the process of creating new banking services. Founders are consulted routinely on what kind of financial services they require and their pain points within the current system, providing HSBC with real-time feedback. In this way, startups are effectively co-creating their own banking solutions.

“When our customers are entrepreneurs, we should also embrace the entrepreneurial spirit, be agile, learn how the world has evolved, and sit side-by-side [with them],” Chan says.

FeatureChloe Wongpost