“If firms make political statements, they have to settle for the company duties that observe,” Cumming mentioned.
Even earlier than the photograph of Wong was revealed, HSBC confronted a tough state of affairs. Former Hong Kong chief Leung Chun-Ying had earlier singled out the financial institution for its silence on the regulation, demanding that HSBC specific its help.
Even Pompeo has famous that HSBC nonetheless faces a cold reception in China.
“That present of fealty appears to have earned HSBC little respect in Beijing, which continues to make use of the financial institution’s enterprise in China as political leverage,” he mentioned in his assertion, calling the Chinese language Communist Occasion’s “browbeating” of HSBC a “cautionary story.”
A spokesperson for China’s International Ministry on Wednesday mentioned that everybody has “the proper to make unbiased choices primarily based on advantage.”
“For some within the US, maybe the world solely lies in two classes — both they’re with the US and may assault China, or they’ve been coerced by China,” mentioned Hua Chunying in response to a query concerning the Pompeo assertion. “These views are narrow-minded and ridiculous.”
The assaults are a significant headache for HSBC, which started life greater than 150 years in the past because the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Company with the goal of financing commerce between Asia and Europe. The financial institution nonetheless has a significant enterprise presence within the area: Final 12 months, its Hong Kong and China divisions pulled in sufficient cash to wipe out losses in the UK and preserve the corporate worthwhile.
HSBC declined to remark. The financial institution’s Hong Kong-listed inventory closed down 1.5% Wednesday.
As a British enterprise, the financial institution faces the danger of changing into collateral injury between the UK and China, mentioned Willy Lam, an adjunct professor for the Middle of China Research on the Chinese language College of Hong Kong.
“It is not shocking that the Chinese language ought to have settled on HSBC as … a goal,” Lam mentioned.
Washington, in the meantime, “is attempting to construct a coalition” of allies towards Beijing, based on Lam. He mentioned that Pompeo’s resolution to name out HSBC particularly displays “exacerbated” tensions between the US and China.
— Eoin McSweeney, Isaac Yee and Jennifer Hansler contributed to this report.