HSBC is planning to invest more than $448m (CNY 3bn) in its China operations, Reuters reported citing Chinese news agency Xinhua.

HSBC chief executive Noel Quinn told Xinhua that although there are challenges for the economy, he also sees opportunities for investments in the country.

The news comes a month after Chinese insurance giant Ping An, who is the British lender’s largest investor, urged the bank to look at ways to boost returns.

Ping An’s suggestions included a proposal to separate the bank’s Asia operations, a source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

HSBC, which is by far Europe’s biggest bank by total assets, earned just over half of its revenue and about two-thirds of its reported pretax profit last year from Asia.

Quinn told Xinhua that the bank plans to carry out the Chinese investment over a five-year period running until 2025. He did not specify the divisions that would receive the cash.

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Quinn said in the interview: “We do expect some market volatility to continue in the short term.

“But we also see in China an economy that has demonstrated its resilience and that still presents long-term growth potential and attractive opportunities to foreign firms and investors.”

A spokesperson for HSBC confirmed Reuters about Quinn’s interview with Xinhua.

HSBC is said to be one of the largest investors among foreign banks in mainland China with a branch network of over 150 outlets across 50 cities.

The bank has around 7,000 staff in the country.  

Quinn, who has been at the helm of HSBC for more than two years, has been accelerating the bank’s focus on Asia by placing global executives in the region and beefing up investments in the wealth management business.

Last week, it was reported that HSBC’s global private banking division is preparing to hire about 100 new employees in China this year.