The Rise of the RMB: HSBC’s 2017 RMB Internationalisation Survey

HSBC has been conducting its Renminbi (RMB) Internationalisation Survey every year since 2012 to measure what companies around the world know about RMB and how they are using or plan to use the currency.

Once ranked as the 20th most active currency for international payments,1 RMB had moved to 5th place by the end of 20162 . Here’s a synopsis of what we found in our 2017 survey, along with access to the detailed findings report (PDF, 8.22MB).

Our 2017 RMB Internalisation Survey is the result of an in-depth study, commissioned by HSBC, on the use of the currency for cross-border transactions. Respondents were senior managers, finance specialists and heads of China desks at 2,500 businesses and financial institutions in 19 countries across the Middle East and North Africa, Europe, North America and Asia Pacific. This year we added five new markets in the Asia Pacific Region – India, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. Only companies currently doing business in and with mainland China with an annual sales turnover of USD3 million up to USD500 million or more were invited to participate.

RMB Adoption on the Rise in Global Markets

In general, attitudes toward RMB are positive. This year’s survey indicates that adoption of RMB among businesses around the world continues to increase with almost one-third of respondents (32 per cent) saying they are already using RMB for cross-border trade. This is up from 24 per cent in 2016 and just 17 per cent in 2015.

More businesses who do not currently use RMB also said they plan to in the future compared to previous years. Even still, many say there are still challenges to adoption – chief among them managing onshore surplus RMB.

The Role of the Belt and Road Initiative on RMB Adoption

There’s growing awareness of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – China’s large-scale, multidimensional strategy intended to drive trade, capital and services between their country and the rest of the world by connecting more than 65 countries through two trade routes.

The businesses we talked to believed BRI will create opportunities by providing better access to outbound Chinese investment and new customers. It is expected to not only increase trade with Belt and Road countries but also the use of RMB as a trade currency.

These findings support HSBC Global Research’s expectation that RMB will become one of the top five currencies by trading volume by 2020. Read the full report (PDF, 8.22MB), which details the findings for our 2017 RMB Internationalisation Survey and includes commentary on the factors driving attitudes toward the currency.

We have created this helpful RMB Handbook (PDF, 6MB) which provides you with further information about how HSBC can help you with your RMB needs.

Alternatively please do speak to your relationship manager for more information.

The Rise of the RMB (PDF, 154KB)

1 SWIFT RMB Tracker, December 2012

2 SWIFT RMB Tracker, January 2017

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