Bank of East Asia

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The Bank of East Asia Limited
Traded as SEHK0023
Industry Finance
Founded 1918; 99 years ago (1918)
Headquarters Hong Kong
Key people
David Li (Chairman and CEO)
Products Financial Services
Consumer Banking
Corporate Banking
Revenue HK $ 8.814 billion
HK $ 4.144 billion
Total assets Increase US$ 98.7  billion (2016)
Bank of East Asia Ltd.
Traditional Chinese 東亞銀行有限公司
Traditional Chinese 東亞銀行
The Bank of East Asia Building, along Des Voeux Road Central, in Central, Hong Kong.

The Bank of East Asia Limited (Chinese: 東亞銀行有限公司) often abbreviated to BEA (Chinese: 東亞銀行), is the largest independent local bank and the third largest bank in Hong Kong. Its chairman and chief executive is Sir David Li. Its head office is in Central.[1]

It was founded in Hong Kong in 1918 by the grandfather, Li Koon-chun (李冠春), and great uncle of the present chairman, David Li. Today the company has a market capitalisation of HK$68.4 billion (US$8.5 billion), as at 27 February 2011, with consolidated assets of US$98.7 billion (as at 31 décembre 2016). It is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange with a stock code of 23.[2] The Bank of East Asia has 168 retail branches in Hong Kong, as well as 60 in mainland China and around 30 in the United States, Canada (30% stake with Industrial and Commercial Bank of China]]) and Britain. Worldwide, the bank employs more than 13,000 people.[3][4]

In 1995, BEA acquired United Chinese Bank, which was fully merged with the bank in 2001. In 2000 it acquired First Pacific Bank.

Headquarters building[edit]

The bank's headquarters are located within the 29-storey Bank of East Asia Building (東亞銀行大廈), at No. 10 Des Voeux Road Central, in Central, Hong Kong. The building stands between New Henry House and The Landmark. Completed in 1982,[5] it is the third generation Bank of East Asia Building at this location. A first generation building was demolished in 1933,[6] while a second generation building stood there from 1935 to 1980.[7]

Mainland operations[edit]

On 20 May 2008, Bank of East Asia became the first foreign bank to issue yuan-denominated debit cards in mainland China, taking advantage of the recent removal of a key restriction on foreign banks' retail business in the country. The bank will issue the debit cards jointly with China UnionPay, the country's only bankcard network operator. The company claimed that the launch of debit cards would help attract retail banking customers by giving them greater convenience in accessing their deposits. In addition, it is the only foreign bank in mainland China to offer direct Alipay payment support and the only foreign bank in mainland China to independently issue credit cards (RMB-denominated UnionPay credit cards in 2008, and more recently Visa-branded US dollar-denominated cards in April 2011).

Overseas operations[edit]

BEA operates overseas in several locations serving expatriate Hong Kong residents. A 70% stake in Bank of East Asia Canada was sold to Industrial and Commercial Bank of China in early 2010 and all branches were renamed ICBC Canada in July. BEA USA remains the only wholly owned unit of BEA in North America. However, a preliminary agreement has been reached with ICBC to sell a majority stake in this operation as well.

Rumours of capital inadequacy[edit]

The attempted bank run

On 24 September 2008, Bank of East Asia issued a statement to counter "malicious rumours" about its stability, as queues of customers seeking to withdraw funds formed outside some of its Hong Kong branches. It condemned the rumour mongers, declaring that it had sufficient funds to meet customers' requests, and noting that its capital adequacy ratio was above the industry average, at 14.6 percent.[8] A statement by Joseph Yam, chief executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, dismissed the rumour and strongly supported the bank, adding that funds would be made available to the bank if required but that no request had been made. Earlier in the week, the bank had been forced to restate its previous half-year's earnings downwards by nearly 12 percent after it was revealed that one of its staff had conducted unauthorised trades and then buried the losses.[9]


  1. ^ "Investor Enquiries." Bank of East Asia. Retrieved on 11 September 2011. "Registered Office : 10 Des Voeux Road Central, Central, Hong Kong"
  2. ^ "Investment Service Centre". Hong Kong Stock Exchange. 25 October 2013. Retrieved 26 October 2013. 
  3. ^ Official site - branches
  4. ^ Credit rumours trigger run on Hong Kongs Bank of East Asia
  5. ^ Bank of East Asia Building, property listing by Landvision Property Agency
  6. ^ Bank of East Asia Building (1st Generation) at
  7. ^ Bank of East Asia Building (2nd Generation) at
  8. ^ Company press release, 24 Sept 08
  9. ^ Savers mob Bank of East Asia over stability rumours - Yahoo

External links[edit]