HSBC Holdings has promoted Richard Yorke to chief executive of its China business. Mr Yorke, formerly a deputy chief executive of China business, replaced Dicky Yip, who was last month appointed vice-president of Bank of Communications (Bocom). HSBC bought a 19.9 per cent stake in the mainland lender for US$1.74 billion in August last year. Mr Yip's appointment completes senior staffing agreements reached under the terms of the acquisition, which entitled HSBC to put a number of its executives in key positions within Bocom. Mr Yorke joined HSBC's China office last year from Hong Kong, where he was head of trade services for Asia Pacific, the bank said. He will report directly to Peter Wong Tung-shun, the executive director for Hong Kong and the mainland who joined HSBC on April 1 from Standard Chartered Bank, where he was head of greater China operations. The appointment of Mr Yorke surprised the market, which had expected a Chinese person to oversee the fast-growing but still highly sensitive market. An HSBC spokesman said Mr Yorke had experience in mainland business. 'Mr Yorke has been based in Shanghai for some time. He will work under Mr Wong, who has strong experience in China and can speak fluent Mandarin. This is a very strong China team,' the spokesman said. HSBC is expanding quickly in the mainland. The bank yesterday announced an $8.1 billion deal to double its stake in Ping An Insurance (Group) to 19.99 per cent by buying stakes held by Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. HSBC also owns 8 per cent of Bank of Shanghai.