27 March 2024

HSBC eyes ASEAN growth, earmarks USD1 billion to scale up digital businesses in the region

HSBC has announced a USD1 billion ASEAN Growth Fund in six of the fastest growth countries in ASEAN to help scale up platform players in the region’s booming digital economy.

To help the region’s digital platform players achieve economies of scale, grow their asset portfolios, and advance along the corporate lifecycle, HSBC is allocating USD1 billion of credit facilities through this dedicated lending fund.

Southeast Asia’s digital economy is among the world’s fastest-growing; worth USD218 billion in 2023 and expected to reach USD600 billion by the end of this decade at a compound annual growth rate of 16%.1

“Like so many other internationally minded businesses, we are excited about ASEAN’s booming digital economy,” said Dato’ Omar Siddiq, Chief Executive Officer, HSBC Malaysia. “With a working population that is digitally native, increasing in size, and poised to consume more goods and services – especially on e-commerce – ASEAN has so much potential for growth. We are delighted to work with digital companies as they expand in the region and beyond.”

The HSBC ASEAN Growth Fund provides lending to companies that are scaling up through digital platforms across Southeast Asia. It supports new economy names, more established corporates, and non-bank financial institutions by assessing operating metrics tied to their cashflow-generative asset portfolio, rather than relying solely on traditional financial metrics.

“HSBC has a proud history and strong heritage in ASEAN of supporting entrepreneurs and scaling up businesses. The introduction of our latest offerings allows us to better support new economy companies in ASEAN, whether start-ups or scale-ups, as they expand across the region and advance along the corporate lifecycle,” added Omar.

Digitalising operations
HSBC recently surveyed 600 companies operating in Southeast Asia and found that “digitalising operations” is a key business priority, selected by 55% of Malaysian respondents. Other priorities include “growth in ASEAN” (59%) and “product development / research and development” (33%).

“To help capture growth in the booming digital economy, almost three quarters of the respondents (73%) said that “digitisation of operations” is becoming more important compared to 2023. More importantly, we also see 82% of the respondents planning to increase their investment in the digitalisation of their businesses in ASEAN,” said Karel Doshi, Head of Commercial Banking, HSBC Malaysia.

“Rapid digital adoption in ASEAN means businesses increasingly – and understandably – need fuss-free digital banking to support their growth. They want convenient and simple-to-use trade and payment solutions that would free up more time for them to focus on strategy and expansion,” shared Karel.

HSBC has a unique value proposition as the world’s number one trade bank with over 135 years of presence in ASEAN and we are at the forefront of driving digital transformation in ASEAN, offering a range of digital financing and banking solutions such as the New Economy Fund2, TradePay3, and Omni Collect4, enabling clients more time to focus on business priorities and development in the region.

HSBC commissioned an online survey of 600 businesses based in six ASEAN markets: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam - 100 businesses from Malaysia were surveyed. Survey respondents were key decision-makers from companies with annual turnover of at least USD50 million who are already doing business in ASEAN. The survey ran from February 14 to February 27, 2024.

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Joanne Wong
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Note to editors:

HSBC Malaysia
HSBC's presence in Malaysia dates back to 1884 when the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited established its first office in the country on the island of Penang, with the permission to issue currency notes. HSBC Bank Malaysia Berhad was locally incorporated in 1984 and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited, founding member of the HSBC Group. In 2007, HSBC Bank Malaysia was the first foreign bank to be awarded an Islamic banking subsidiary licence in Malaysia, namely HSBC Amanah Malaysia Berhad.

1 e-Conomy SEA 2023 | Bain & Company

2 The New Economy Fund is a RM500 million fund dedicated to providing high-growth, new economy businesses across Malaysia access to funding solutions to enable them to innovate and scale. The fund will primarily support lending to tech-led businesses and emerging startups from Series B stage and beyond who are tapping opportunities within Malaysia’s growing digital economy.

3 HSBC TradePay is an industry first, straight-through trade finance solution that enables businesses to instantly drawdown trade loans and concurrently pay suppliers. It is currently available in selected countries.

4 HSBC Omni Collect simplifies collection processes by providing oversight of all sales receipts across markets through a single platform.