Treasury Today Country Profiles in association with Citi

HSBC aims to connect buyers and suppliers around the world

Network and Connection technology concept with city background

The bank’s new ‘matchmaking service’ seeks to help build new relationships amongst its client base.

Social networks have dramatically changed how we interact with one another, and increasingly they are changing how businesses operate.

In light of this shift, HSBC has developed a new platform that seeks to change the way that SMEs and MMEs connect with each other.

Business matchmaking

The bank’s Connection Hub is a digital platform that is designed to enable businesses around the world to connect with one another and establish working relationships.

Currently live in Canada, China, Hong Kong, India, Mexico, Singapore, the UK and the US, the solution works like most social networks that we are familiar with.

An HSBC customer can create an account on the platform and include basic information about the business as well as showcasing some of its products and services. The user then fills in what type of company it wants to connect with and where they should be located. Organisations can also add specific opportunities to the network.

“The platform utilises algorithms and machine learning to suggest potential companies that the user should look to connect with based on these parameters,” explains Richard Davies, Global Head of Propositions, Commercial Banking at HSBC. “The more a client uses the solution the more beneficial it will be in building a rich profile of the kind of company that the user wants to connect with.”

Once a relationship has been struck with another company, a private messaging service can be used for the initial interaction.

Value proposition

“Traditionally, the only way that many of these companies could connect with one another was to go on trade missions organised by the banks or governments,” explains Davies. “Although this has been a successful method, it has limitations in terms of how many companies a business can connect with at one time. This solution therefore looks to replicate these trade missions but ensure that users can meet a much wider scale of businesses from the comfort of their office.”

Davies explains that to date the client reaction has been very positive and the bank is now working hard to build a critical mass of users. “This is key,” he says, “for the solution to be truly beneficial there has to be a diverse range of users from a broad spread of countries.”

With a few hundred users already live on the platform, Davies hopes that this number will multiply by ten by the end of the year. Once this critical mass is achieved, the bank has plans to build the solution out further.

“We are exploring ways to include large multinational corporates in the platform,” he says. “They typically have a much larger and functionalised structure so the target user would be very different from that at an SME, making it a bit more complex to get them on board.”

Elsewhere, the bank is looking to extend it out to other markets – France will be going live in the coming weeks. Davies also explains that the functionality can be built out. “Some things we are looking at include creating a broader buyer/supplier ecosystem and a premium concierge service where a human plays a role in the matchmaking,” he concludes.

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