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Notes on the Geography of China: Shanghai:The Bund: Photo 18

world pictures China: Shanghai:The Bund

This is the central part of the facade of the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation building, from 1923; now it's the Shanghai Pudong Development Bank. The HSBC was set up in 1865 by the Hong Kong superintendent of the P&O steamship line. He foresaw the need for a local bank organized, as he put it, on "Scottish banking principles." The Shanghai office opened the same year; offices opened in Japan a year later and in Bangkok in 1888. This building was one of three the bank opened at about the same time: one in Manila opened a year earlier and one in Bangkok a year later. The bank's new Hong Kong headquarters were opened in 1935. Like Jardine and Matheson seeking a safe haven, HSBC left Honk Kong with the last British governor. The bank headquarters is now in London, in a building housing 8,000 staff at Canary Wharf. It's been a while, in other words, since the top floor here was occupied as the private apartments of HSBC officers.

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