The Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corporation Ltd. is a prominent bank established and based in Hong Kong since 1865. It is the founding member of the HSBC Group and since 1990 is now a wholly owned subsidiary of HSBC Holdings plc.
After the British established Hong Kong as a colony in the aftermath of the First Opium War (1839-1842), local merchants felt the need for a bank to finance the growing trade between China and Europe. They established the Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Company Ltd. in Hong Kong (March 1865) and Shanghai (April 1865). The Bank expanded with new branch offices in Japan (1866), Bangkok (1921) and Manila (1922).
Today, the company’s business ranges from the traditional High Street roles of personal finance and commercial banking, to corporate and investment banking, private banking and global banking. It is the largest bank in Hong Kong with branches and offices throughout the Asia Pacific region including other countries around the world.
H & S B C overprints are mostly to be found on the Foreign Bill stamps of King Edward VII, King George V, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II. Overprints on postage stamps are much harder to find, and appear to be confined to the King George V issues. Full name overprints are also known on Queen Victoria Foreign Bill stamps, though these are much scarcer than the initials only types.