Powering a Chinese client’s growth by the Red Sea

HSBC China desk in Riyadh, helps a Chinese company expand their business in the area, using their banking experience, understanding of Chinese clients and knowledge of local markets.

Our China Desk in Riyadh joined hands with business teams in China and Saudi Arabia to support a Chinese company growing its business in the desert.

Every time Ping Huang, Head of China Desk in Saudi Arabia, catches sight of a pair of chimneys rising high along the Red Sea coast, he can’t help but feel a sense of accomplishment.

The twin chimneys are part of a power plant project in the port city of Yanbu that China’s SEPCOIII Electric Power Construction Corporation (SEPCOIII) is building for Saudi Arabia’s Saline Water Conversion Corporation. HSBC is a close partner with SEPCOIII in the project, while supporting the Chinese company‘s efforts to become a key player in the Saudi power plant construction market.

“SEPCOIII requires highly efficient, comprehensive and customised banking solutions to support its business growth in Saudi Arabia, which HSBC’s universal banking model, product offering capabilities and total solutions approach are able to help,” said Ping Huang, Head of China Desk in Saudi Arabia, who works closely with SEPCOIII’s Global Relationship Banker in Beijing and the Global Trade and Receivables Finance team in Qingdao where the construction company’s head office is located.

Facilities arrangements from HSBC have so far supported four SEPCOIII construction projects in Saudi Arabia. Catering to the different needs of the client, the bank is able to provide a variety of services including loans and invoice finance, as well as trade and remittance services such as project proceeds collections, documentary credit, and guarantees issuance.

The Bank’s online banking tools for corporates – HSBCnet and SABBnet – enable the client’s finance team to easily and securely manage payments and liquidity of different accounts all on the same platforms, even though its project sites in Saudi Arabia are in remote areas and located great distances apart. The SABBnet is offered by The Saudi British Bank, HSBC's joint stock entity in the country.

Breaking new ground

When the construction for the third phase of the project started last year, Ping and the teams in China and Saudi Arabia forged ahead with retail offerings and HSBC now provides payroll services for more than 10,000 Chinese working at the project sites, in compliance with local laws.

It was no easy task, as the remote locations of these project sites meant that only a limited number of accounts could be opened each time the HSBC teams visited the sites.

“A huge amount of effort went into the task, from educating the Chinese workers to arranging translation and logistics during the account opening process,” said Ping. “Our insights about the local market and the needs of the client, plus the close collaborations between both the local and China teams, enabled us to deliver the service with high quality and efficiency.”

The China Desk in Saudi Arabia is one of 25 around the world whose mission is to provide banking support to Chinese companies as they expand their footprint around the world. This network is now a core part of how HSBC connects Chinese clients with business opportunities in these markets.

“By staying closer to SEPCOIII’s overseas operations via the China Desks, we can provide dedicated and expert support to them that is integrated with our coverage of the client at home. This helps us to enhance our relationship with the client,” said Amy Tian, Director in Global Banking’s North PRC Team and Global Banking Manager for SEPCOIII.

About China Desks

Officially launched in 2012, China Desks play an important role in supporting Chinese companies as they expand to overseas market.

We currently have 25 China Desks covering over 40 markets, and staffed with experienced bankers with both profound understanding of Chinese clients and knowledge of local markets. As most of them are Chinese, the cultural and language familiarity allows them to forge close relationships with the Chinese clients they support.