HSBC Bank - Shanghai

HSBC Bank No 12 The Bund Shanghai

HSBC Bank No 12 The Bund Shanghai is a six-floor neo-classical building in the Bund area of Shanghai, China. It served as the headquarters of the Shanghai branch of The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation from 1923 to 1955, and currently houses the Shanghai Pudong Development Bank. The building is situated at number 12, the Bund. Designed by the British architecture firm Palmer & Turner Architects and Surveyors, construction of the building lasted from 5 May 1921 to 23 June 1923.

On 4 March 1865, HSBC opened its Shanghai branch on the ground floor of the Central Hotel (now Peace Hotel) on the corner of the Bund with Nanjing Road.

By 1874, HSBC’s business had grown so much that the existing premises was becoming cramped. The bank then purchased the Foreign Club, a three-storey building at number 12, the Bund, south of the Customs House, for 60,000 taels of silver.

In 1912, the bank made further acquisitions at number 10 and number 11, the Bund, and began construction of the new building. Construction began on 5 May 1921, with the dome capped off on 23 June 1923. According to contemporary press reports, at the time of construction the bank hired feng shui masters to select the time and direction of the first excavation. In accordance with Chinese tradition, coins from around the world were buried in the foundations. Specially minted coins were placed in dark recesses of the building to ward off spirits. The construction took 25 months, and the completed building occupied 1.3 hectares, with an area of 23,415 m². The architect’s firm, Palmer & Turner, also designed numerous other buildings on the Bund including the Yokohama Specie Building, Yangtze Insurance Building, and Bank of China Building.During the Second World War, the HSBC building was occupied by the Japanese Yokohama Specie Bank. HSBC moved back at the end of the war.The Communists took over Shanghai in 1949. HSBC continued to operate in the relative freedom of the early years of the People’s Republic. However, in 1955 the political situation led the bank to scale down its operations in Shanghai.