HSBC in Qatar

HSBC has been operating in Qatar since 1954. With an unrivalled global network and a rich heritage, HSBC is well positioned to play a leading role in the local economy and continue its commitment to the country’s development.

The diverse workforce, which includes local Qatari talent, offers HSBC customers the best in international knowledge and understanding of the local market dynamics.

The new state-of-the-art main office officially opened on 11 February 2010 and forms part of the network that includes branches in the shopping mall City Center Doha and Salwa Road. The bank offers a full range of cross-border banking products and services from commercial and global banking to retail banking, wealth management and offshore banking.

History of HSBC in the Middle East

Origins

HSBC’s presence in the Middle East dates back to 1889 when the bank was known as The Imperial Bank of Persia. The bank changed its name to The Imperial Bank of Iran in 1935; The British Bank of Iran and the Middle East in 1949 and subsequently The British Bank of the Middle East in 1952 when operations in Iran were wound up. The HongKong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited acquired The British Bank of the Middle East in 1959.

Diversification

The 1940s was a period of great change with the decline of operations in Iran (which closed in 1952) and expansion into the Arabian Peninsula and the Levant.

The bank was a leader in financial services in the states that are now referred to as the Gulf Cooperation Council, opening branches in Kuwait (1942), Bahrain (1944), the area now known as the UAE (1946), Oman (Muscat 1948) and Saudi Arabia (Al Khobar and Jeddah 1950).

Branches were also opened in the cities of the Fertile Crescent: Beirut (1946), Damascus (1947), Tripoli (1948), Amman (1949) and Aleppo (1951).

Regional expansion

By 1959, when the bank was acquired by the Group, it had added more offices in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Libya, Qatar, Tunisia, Morocco and UAE.

During the 1960s and 1970s the bank left Syria, Iraq, South Yemen and Libya after nationalisation of the banking sectors.

In 1978, the bank’s business in Saudi Arabia was transferred to a new bank, the Saudi British Bank, where the Group took a 40 per cent share. The Group also took a 40 per cent share in the Hong Kong Egyptian Bank S.A.E, which was established in 1982.

Modern structure

In 1994, the bank's head office was transferred to Jersey and in 1999 it was renamed HSBC Bank Middle East (HBME). In 2001, the Group’s shareholding in Egypt increased to 94.5 per cent. In June 2016, the bank confirmed that it had transferred its place of incorporation and head office from Jersey to the Dubai International Financial Centre. As a result of the transfer, HBME is now lead-regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority, but remains locally regulated in each of the countries in which it operates by the country’s Central Bank and its other regulators.

HSBC Bank Middle East Limited - Board of Directors

  • David Eldon (Chairman)
  • Georges Elhedery
  • John Bartlett
  • Chris D Spooner
  • Abdulfattah Sharaf
  • Abdul Hakeem Mostafawi
  • Raja Al Gurg
  • David Dew
  • William Patey
For details about HSBC’s global operations, Group board members and financial results, go to our corporate website

HSBC Group history timeline

1865
 
2016

Hong Kong harbour, Chinese artist, early 1860s

Staff in Fuzhou, China, 1887

Portrait of Thomas Jackson, around 1890

Chinese railway bond certificate, 1907

Staff in military uniform, First World War

Hong Kong building, 1965

Prison camp diary of HSBC staff member Max Haymes, 1943

Hong Kong garment factory, around 1950

Persian banknote, early 20th century

UK cash machine, around 1970

HSBC office, New York, 1999

HSBC lion, London, present day

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The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited opened in Hong Kong on 3 March 1865 and in Shanghai one month later. It was the first locally owned bank to operate according to Scottish banking principles.

By 1875 HSBC was present in seven countries across Asia, Europe and North America. It financed the export of tea and silk from China, cotton and jute from India, sugar from the Philippines and rice and silk from Vietnam.

By 1900, after strong growth under Chief Manager Thomas Jackson, the bank had expanded into 16 countries and was financing trade across the world. Bullion, exchange and merchant banking were important features of the bank’s business.

In the early 20th century, HSBC widened the scope of its activities in Asia. It issued loans to national governments to finance modernisation and infrastructure projects such as railway building.

The First World War brought disruption and dislocation to many businesses. By the 1920s, however, Asia was beginning to prosper again as new industries developed and trade in commodities such as rubber and tin soared.

The 1930s brought recession and turmoil to many markets. Nonetheless, HSBC asked architects Palmer and Turner to design a new head office in Hong Kong: “Please build us the best bank in the world.” The cutting-edge art deco building opened in 1935.

The bank faced one of its most challenging times during the Second World War. Staff in Asia showed huge courage in the face of adversity. Many became prisoners of war. Only the London, Indian and US branches remained in full operation.

At the end of the war, HSBC took on a key role in the reconstruction of the Hong Kong economy. Its support helped established manufacturers as well as newcomers to Hong Kong grow their business.

By the 1970s the bank had expanded through acquisition. HSBC bought Mercantile Bank and The British Bank of the Middle East in 1959. In 1972 it formed a merchant banking arm, extending its range of services.

In the 1980s HSBC bought Marine Midland Bank in the US. In 1992, the newly created HSBC Holdings plc made a recommended offer for full ownership of the UK’s Midland Bank. Following the acquisition, HSBC moved its headquarters to London.

In 1998, the bank announced it would adopt a unified brand, using HSBC and the hexagon symbol everywhere it operated.

As new markets blossom and flourish, HSBC continues to be where the growth is, connecting customers to opportunities. The bank enables businesses to thrive and economies to prosper, helping people fulfil their hopes and dreams and realise their ambitions.

China goes international

23 May 2018

Chinese people are studying, holidaying and working overseas in unprecedented numbers.

Next steps in the fight against financial crime

17 May 2018

HSBC is harnessing artificial intelligence and advanced analytics to spot suspicious behaviour.

Your face is your password

15 May 2018

Many HSBC business customers can now log in to our mobile app using facial recognition technology.

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