Jun 12, 2020

HSBC backlash betrays west’s wishful thinking

US secretary of state Mike Pompeo criticised "China's attempted coercion of the United Kingdom" and lamented the "Show of fealty" from the London-based bank and similar "Political and corporate kowtows". Why did anyone expect anything else from The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation? "There was enough civil unrest that business couldn't possibly flourish," says one person close to the bank who supports Beijing's new law. Never a typical British company, its unusual background is described in its history The Lion Wakes: a pseudo central bank in Hong Kong well after is founding in 1865, with ranks of "International officers" that required "Demilitarisation" as recently as 2000. This year the Bank of England would not accept HSBC was anything other than a British bank when it forced it to conserve capital by cutting its dividend, a deeply unpopular move among Hong Kong investors who had come to count on the coupon. It still owns a 20 per cent stake in China's Bank of Communications, which HSBC values at $21.5bn and considers a useful sign of its commitment to China, better than any photo on WeChat.

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