Marriage of ‘convenience’

by By Dinah S. Ventura
(Manila City, Philippines)

What is a marriage without love and commitment? It would be a marriage of convenience — in paper only — where both partners benefit in some way but are not more deeply involved. But that is about a union between two people. When it comes to establishing ties between entities, similar qualities are required, but then it becomes a marriage of true convenience. By some extraordinary twist, a globally recognized banking corporation has brought to life this twist in “marriage” – one that is convenient, but strong; mutually beneficial, but caring.

Johanna Garcia, HSBC vice president of Corporate Affairs, explains that HSBC, just as in a lasting relationship, goes “the extra mile” for its partner businesses, adding that they are not just about impersonal banking transactions, but are equipped with relationship managers that help businesses meet their goals.

“A marriage has shared goals and open communication. There is genuine concern and unconditional love. In the same way, HSBC is poised to help businesses grow by offering solutions that are a tailor-fit for their goals and needs. Just like in a marriage of individuals, we realize that each client is different, with different goals and needs. We aim to provide them with the proper services that would help them meet their goals,” Garcia says.

In a rapidly shrinking world where businesses are going global, one needs the right partner. “A global company needs a global bank. HSBC’s Corporate Banking Group has the geographical scale that can match a multinational company’s worldwide footprint, and yet have the local knowledge on how things are done. At the same time, as the World’s Local Bank, we understand that your business is as distinct as you are. With more than 125 years of experience in the Philippines, we have witnessed the development of the Filipino enterprise. We were in the middle of it all. …Our experience (can) work for you,” Garcia shared. “Our edge is our capability, experience and global reach.”

According to HSBC’s senior vice president and head of Corporate and Institutional Banking Junie Velasco, a company needs a good bank – one that offers a comprehensive range of services that are flexible enough to fit the company’s needs. “For different types of customers, we have different solutions,” he said.

Indeed, from veteran businessmen to the new generation of entrepreneurs, HSBC has played a part in helping them succeed.

Hiro Asandas, president of the New Creation Manufacturing Inc., Hello Dolly Manufacturing Inc. and Chelsons Manufacturing Inc., ventured into business as a young man in 1959. He moved to the Philippines from India when he was just 23 years old in 1954. Seeing a need for better quality bed sheets at the time, he set up his own business manufacturing comforters, bed sheets, pillowcases and towels under his brand Canadian.

With guts, vision, “and of course Hongkong Shanghai Bank” (known today as HSBC), Asandas slowly but surely grew his manufacturing business and now also produces infant and children’s wear. He was able to acquire the license for Disney, Snoopy and Looney Tunes for an infant’s line and beddings in 1995. His company’s character department eventually expanded to hold the license in 10 countries with over 15 brands.

Janina Dizon-Hoschka, a third-generation jewelry designer whose family has been in the jewelry design industry for many years, is pleased with the way HSBC has enabled her to “cross boundaries,” as she expands her business to other parts of the world. Dizon-Hoschka joined the family business in 1991 and opened her own business, Janina, at the Peninsula Manila in 2007. Based in Manila, the jewelry designer travels extensively to attend trade fairs and look for opportunities to bring her designs abroad. She is currently exporting to Japan, India, France and Italy.

In the world of luxury brands, Anton Huang is a force to reckon with. Huang sits as executive vice president of three of eight companies under the conglomerate known as the Rustan Group of Companies, including Stores Specialists Inc. (SSI), Rustan Marketing Corp. (RMK) and Rustan Marketing Specialists Inc. (RMSI). SSI is largely recognized for its role in bolstering the upsurge in luxury retailing in the country. Its range of boutiques, carrying some of the world’s most prestigious brands, has placed the Philippines in the world’s shopping map.

Rustan’s was founded more than 50 years ago by his grandparents Bienvenido and Glecy Tantoco. Under Huang’s helm, the group of companies grew exponentially, taking the family’s department store business into the new age. “Sixteen years ago, SSI had three brands and a few stores. Now it has 42 brands and over 400 stores,” Huang shared, adding that they are also planning to open the first Hermes store in Manila come December. They are also “experimenting with e-commerce,” launching a web site selling school and office supplies under the company Office One Superstore.

Asandas, Dizon-Hoschka and Huang are some of the leading businesses who have chosen to bank with HSBC. “International banks help us build international relationships,” Huang noted. “That’s how it started with us and HSBC.”

“When we need them, they are there. And the name HSBC is recognized by our partners here and abroad. The name impresses others; it makes them think we could be trusted. And their service is excellent,” praised Asandas.

“They have 3,500 offices in 85 countries. HSBC’s international connections are vast,” added Dizon-Hoschka.

With a partner like that, companies of any size can expect to grow their business in this rapidly changing world.

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