HONGKONG Bank is endowing an international finance chair at the University of Hongkong Business School as a first step towards making the school a world leader. ''We have a way to go,'' Hongkong Bank chairman John Gray acknowledged yesterday. ''But I think we've made a very good start and I see no reason why Hongkong should not have one of the premier business schools in the world.'' Professor Klaus Spremann will be the first to hold the Hongkong Bank chair of international finance. Prof Spremann, a German, has for the past two years been a professor of business administration at the Hochschule St Gallen, Switzerland, and director of the Swiss Institute of Banking and Finance. His main goal at the business school will be to establish an international research centre for the banking and financial service industries. The aim of the centre, he said, was to undertake research that ''bridges between the academic world and the business community''. Grander plans are in store for the school, created three years ago out of the 25-year-old management studies department. ''Eventually we hope to have a building . . . which will give a physical presence to the business school in the same way as the international business schools such as Harvard Business School, Wharton, MIT, Fontainebleau also have a physical presence,'' said Mr Gray. ''I think that's also very important to Hongkong.'' He pictures the business school as an institution that can bring together East and West. ''There is a lot to be learned from both sides and if you can bring those two together and find a balance between the two, then I think you have the best of both worlds.'' Beyond the educational aspects, Mr Gray said, a top-flight business school would put the territory ''very firmly on the map in an area where Hongkong has excelled for many years and I hope will continue to excel''.