Local incorporation will boost HSBC's organic presence as part of its dual growth strategy for Vietnam, which consists of strategic alliances and organic plans.

It plans to set up headquarters in HCM City, after the approval-in-principle from the State Bank of Vietnam.

In the last two-years, HSBC has formed partnerships through investments in Techcombank, the third-largest joint stock commercial bank in Vietnam by equity, and Bao Viet, the country's leading insurance and financial services group.

Vietnam last year allowed foreign banks to establish local banks to offer a full range of services, as part of its WTO commitment to lift restrictions.

HSBC first opened an office in Saigon (now HCM City) in 1870, but that was closed in 1975. It opened representative offices in 1992 and made the HCM City office a full service branch in 1995.

Reuters - September 10, 2008