Transforming small business acquisition in HSBC’s largest markets

Strategic Design x Engagement


Getting a bank account is considered one of the hardest parts of starting a business. This is a problem HSBC faces across markets – with disconnected journeys, varied digital capabilities, and complex regulations negating their advantage as a leading global bank.

As a result, HSBC were missing opportunities to connect with the next generation of startups, with the friction during acquisition pushing business owners to bank with faster-moving fintechs and competitors.



We collaborated with HSBC teams in Hong Kong, Singapore, and the UK to research the needs of business owners, with the goal of optimising the acquisition process and applying HSBC’s new data capabilities.

Our process included depth interviews with stakeholders, contextual enquiries with business owners, identifying clusters in 3m rows of website data, reviewing drop off points through value stream mapping, and service safaris to open accounts with competitors. This enabled us to identify unique behaviours in each market, optimising the journey around bespoke data and experience-led acquisition strategies.


Across markets we significantly improved acquisition numbers, with a 38.5% increase in applications in the UK, annual targets hit within 6 months in Singapore, and a 21% uplift in online conversion in Hong Kong.

This was primarily achieved by personalising the experience around business life cycles, connecting data sources, and creating visibility across the journey to streamline processes and prioritise future investment decisions.


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