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Diana Cesar, head of retail banking and wealth management at HSBC in Hong Kong

HSBC seeks balance between mobile payments, Hong Kong branch network

Bank will not stop expanding branch network even amid surge in app usage


The increased popularity of mobile payments in Hong Kong has pushed HSBC to invest in related technology, but the bank said it would not stop expanding its branch network.

Diana Cesar, head of retail banking and wealth management at HSBC in Hong Kong, said the lender would strike a balance between different banking services, even as mobile banking emerged as a growth area.

In the first quarter, average monthly HSBC mobile banking logins increased more than 60 per cent from last year, Cesar said at the launch of a wealth management app.

The number of mobile banking transactions jumped 50 per cent in the same period.

The app allows a user to check foreign exchange rates and accept an offer of a pre-approved credit card.

"The investment we have put into mobile banking technology is quite large, and the maintenance and updates will take a lot of effort," she said.


The number of people with contactless credit cards grew to 31 per cent of all cardholders last year, from 17 per cent in 2011, a survey by market research firm Ipsos found.

HSBC launched mobile payment near field communication (NFC) services for iPhone users in the fourth quarter.

Cesar refused to give figures for usage so far but said it was better than expected. The bank will launch NFC services for Android phones in the second half.

With the growing acceptance of mobile payment services, Hang Seng Bank, a unit of HSBC, said it would launch its NFC service in the third quarter. Bank of China (Hong Kong) will offer the service this year.


HSBC has about 100 branches in Hong Kong.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: HSBC eyes mobile payment technology