The growth and internationalisation of global and Chinese banks: The cases of HSBC and ICBC

Change log
Xu, Jing 

This dissertation examines the determinants of bank’s growth and internationalisation and the interactions among the determinants. It employs a comparative longitudinal case studies of HSBC and ICBC from their establishment to 2018. Since 1865, HSBC has grown and transformed from a Hong Kong based bank to an Asian regional bank and then to a global bank. Since 1984, ICBC has grown and transformed from a national specialised bank to a fully state-owned commercial bank and then to a joint-stock bank and now on its way to become a world-class modern bank. The trilateral interactions among market environment and regulation, the bank’s strategy, and its organizational capability have been identified as the determinants and developed as an integrated framework to analyse the process of growth and internationalisation. A bank’s growth and internationalisation is a dynamic process involving varying degrees in size and profitability, diversification and divestments of businesses, and the entry in and exiting from operating territories. This process involves uncertainty as it requires continuous transformation, and/or innovation. Significant weakness in any of the three determinants or serious intertwined problems could threaten the continuity of the bank’s growth process. A global even asset allocation strategy misplaces the means and ends and deviates a firm’s attention from the essential value creation, which could lead to a loss of strategic focus in the long term. It is critical to maintain deep commitment to customer groups, home market(s), home region(s) and other priority markets that can continuously facilitate long-term productive relationships. The proportions of assets, profits, employees and presences among different regions or business segments will move as per the interplay among changing market environment and regulation, strategy, and organizational capability. Globalisation not only enables global asset allocation, but also enables global value creation, and asset allocation should be a means for value creation. HSBC is a global bank. ICBC, however, is primarily a Chinese bank.

Zhang, Jin
growth, internationalisation, market environment and regulation, strategy, organizational capability, bank
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Awarding Institution
University of Cambridge