In February 2010, the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) opened a branch in Qatar to improve its presence in the Middle East. The expansion is coherent with HSBC’s growth strategy aimed at connecting business opportunities at a global level. The reputation and weight of HSBC, whose international experience is unquestionable, makes the company suitable for Qatar, a country experiencing economic turmoil since 2017 and presenting a banking system dominated by four major companies.
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This paper has the purpose of analyzing HSBC through the lenses of peculiar features and corporate strategies to assess its current presence in the Qatari market and possible future developments. The methods utilized include an in-depth investigation of the corporate culture and the strategy behind its success, SWOT analysis, Porter’s Five Forces analysis, and Porter’s Four Strategies approach.
SWOT analysis showed a solid economic reality, even if the brand image has been slightly obscured by some recent financial scandals. Successful strategies of HSBC include the ability to create healthy relationships between producers and consumers through a straight focus on clients’ satisfaction, marketing activities promoting the versatility of the bank, and concentration of business activities in growing markets.
Porter Five Forces analysis has highlighted some critical factors that hinder HSBC performance, including the difficulty of adapting the business to Islamic laws, decreased bargaining power due to economic turbulence, the spread of alternative banking systems as Hawala, the presence of an oligopolistic market structure, and the strong monopoly of the Qatari Central Bank. Finally, Porter’s Four Strategies approach shows that HSBC privileges a focus/differentiation strategy both with regards to personal and corporate banking.
The findings suggest that the banking system in Qatar is likely to increase in the future, with a consistent improvement of competition. From this perspective, technological advancements will play a key role in determining the success of a banking organization, especially considering that many existing technologies are not yet available in Qatar. Hence, a first-mover strategy would increase the presence and success of HSBC within the Arabic country.