HSBC's online hub connects business clients

HSBC Bank has launched a digital networking platform so business clients can connect with each other and make deals.

The HSBC Connections Hub is available free for customers in Singapore, Canada, mainland China, Hong Kong, India, Mexico, Britain and the United States.

More countries and territories will be added in the second half of the year.

Mr Richard Davies, the global head of propositions for HSBC Commercial Banking, said: "Researching and connecting with new business partners can be a daunting task, and one that gets harder with distance.

"We have designed the HSBC Connections Hub to help break down barriers for companies of all sizes that aspire to forge new business relationships at home and overseas."

Users will have to create a business profile, including company information, products, locations and business interests.

A smart, automated search engine will then highlight potential buyers and sellers in other markets.

Alternatively, customers can search and view the profiles of specific business using variables such as location, industry, products or services. Users can send a private message to their target business partners via the HSBC Connections Hub.

HSBC customers can also explore business opportunities on the global networking platform and other users can filter the opportunities they see based on product type, value and/or location.

The personalised opportunities appear in a "What's New" section on each user's homepage.

Radha Exports founder Naraindas Gangaram, a HSBC customer, felt the service will help him grow his business.

"Usually we would make international contacts by attending trade fairs around the world. From there we get to know suppliers and customers and we have to do background checks on them - are they legitimate? Are they trustworthy?

"This platform makes it much easier as it can already tell us who they are, how big they are and we are assured that they've undergone HSBC's due diligence."

He added: "Even before we travel somewhere we can already start talking to potential suppliers and customers, and then meet them in their market.

"Conversely, it also helps them to know that we are legitimate, what our turnover and business models are and so on, so we don't have to tell them our whole back story."

Last year, around 37,000 Singapore companies, 80 per cent of them small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), approached trade agency IE Singapore for help in understanding overseas markets and to connect to the right business partners, HSBC noted.

HSBC Singapore head of business banking, Ms Ng Li Lian, said: "We see HSBC Connections Hub will further supplement the existing resources that are available to internationalising SMEs which are looking for new customers, suppliers or international partners."

Yasmine Yahya

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 07, 2017, with the headline 'HSBC's online hub connects business clients'. Print Edition | Subscribe