Singapore’s OCBC investing US2 million in Hong Kong, Macau to support business growth, CEO Helen Wong says

“After these technology and digital developments are completed, our digital banking capability will increase substantially,” group CEO Helen Wong said at a media briefing in Hong Kong on Wednesday. “This will allow our customers to conduct online banking and trading in a quicker and more efficient manner.”

OCBC acquired Hong Kong’s Wing Hang Bank in 2014. Photo: SCMP

As part of the investments, OCBC in March leased 54,800 sq ft in Airside, a mixed-use development by Nan Fung Group in Kai Tak, Hong Kong, for its new office, according to Cushman & Wakefield.

“It is important to upgrade our facilities to attract talent and new customers,” Wong said.

Established in 1932, OCBC is the second-largest bank in Southeast Asia by assets. It uses a twin-hub approach – Singapore and Hong Kong – to run its business in its major markets Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China.

OCBC acquired Wing Hang Bank in 2014 to fast track its entry into Hong Kong, Macau and the mainland.

Besides the new office in Kai Tak, the bank has offices in Sheung Wan and Shau Kei Wan, which house its 2,400-plus staff in Hong Kong, where it has over 30 outlets and total assets of HK$363 billion at the end of last year.

The bank also has 11 branches and 450 employees in Macau, where it had total assets of HK$32 billion as of end-2023. In the Greater Bay Area, the lender has offices in Guangzhou, Foshan, Zhuhai and Shenzhen.

Wong said Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China are key growth regions for OCBC. They accounted for 21 per cent of the bank’s profit before tax last year, compared with 6 per cent a decade ago when it bought Wing Hang Bank. The group reported profit before tax of S$8.4 billion (US$6.23 billion) last year.

China remains one of the fastest growing major markets for OCBC, Wong said, citing its strong 5.3 per cent gross domestic product growth in the first quarter.

OCBC has invested in increasing its transaction banking capabilities in recent years to support the growth in Hong Kong, mainland China and Macau, Wang Ke, head of Greater China and CEO of OCBC Hong Kong, said at the same briefing.

To pursue its expansion plan, OCBC will hire 300 new employees in China over the next three years to upgrade its technology capabilities to provide more digital services to corporate and individual clients, he said.

Green finance is another growth area the bank is pursuing, providing sustainable finance to both small and big companies.

Wang said OCBC has arranged green loans for many Hong Kong logistics companies and China’s largest wind power producer.