Pest Analysis - Hsbc Holding Plc

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A PEST Analysis Report of HSBC

Introduction
HSBC holding plc is a global banking and financial services company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. The business of HSBC includes personal financial services (retail banking), commercial banking, global banking and markets (investment banking), and private banking. HSBC holding was founded in 1991 by the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation. The bank’s first branches were original opened in Hong Kong and Shanghai in 1865. 

HSBC lists on the London, Hong Kong, New York, Paris and Bermuda stock exchanges. In 2010, the total revenue of HSBC is 98.918 billion US dollars, with more than 13 billion US dollars profit. (HSBC, 2011) According to the Forbes magazine (2011), HSBC is the second largest banking and financial services company in the world, and its international network comprises around 7,500 offices in 87 countries and territories. (HSBC, 2011)

This report will analyse several environmental forces that may influence HSBC and its business by the method of PEST analysis (Political-legal, Economic, Socio-cultural, and Technological analysis). It is significant for all companies to identify the external environment in which they are operating business in order to help the company to make decisions and to manage long term survival strategies which will also help the company not to fail when the external environment change.

Political-legal Environment
HSBC is a multinational company and it operates in many nation states. Therefore, decisions made by those political entities may have significant impacts on the prospect for HSBC achieving the objectives it has set itself. (Griffiths & Wall, 2008) Moreover, since different countries have their own political and legal system, the political environment that HSBC confronts in different countries may vary. And as a multinational company, HSBC also have to face some Global or regional political environment. Generally, there are two broad ranges of political risks faced by HSBC existing in every country: Macro-political risks which potentially affect all firms in the country, and Micro-political risks which only affect HSBC or its industry. (Griffiths & Wall, 2008)

In 2010, as a response to the request of G-20 2009 Pittsburgh summit, IMF (International Monetary Fund) proposed an idea of ‘Financial Stability Contribution’ in the context of the Late-2000s Financial Crisis. (Page, 2010) As a result of this, in early-2011, many countries increased bank levy. In the UK, the government raised the levy on banks to £2.5bn. (BBC, 2011) This tax policy increases the additional costs of HSBC, as it has measured that the levy would have seen HSBC pay about £370 million if it was in place last year. (Metro, 2011) To response this, managers of HSBC travelled Europe seeking support for bank levy backing. (FT, 2010) And the chairman of HSBC, Douglas Flint even announced that the company would decide whether to relocate out of London to another financial center. (Tax-news, 2011) Although, HSBC soon denied moving headquarter to anther places, but it has raised the concerns spread out the media about whether the high bank levy makes banks basing on the UK more costly. (BBC, 2011)

In addition, HSBC may have to face several micro-political risks in certain countries. According to a report by PwC (2010), in 2009, after-tax profits of HSBC China declined 60% from 2008 to $106.5 million. In the meantime, after-tax profits of Chinese local banks increased 200%. The main reason why HSBC could not be as competitive as the Chinese local banks is that there are many barriers confronting foreign banks in China – they are not able to build a business of any scale in China, since the Chinese legislations limits on how many local banking operations can lean on foreign banks. HSBC as a foreign bank in China is reined by those legislations and as a result of this, HSBC is in a disadvantage competitive condition. Despite that, as the...
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