Forty years in China: Building a bridge from China to the world


At Societe Generale, we see ourselves as a bridge between China and international markets, bringing our global expertise, products and know-how to Chinese clients, while also assisting multinational corporations operating in China.

To deliver on that promise, we are focusing our wholesale business model on those areas where it has sustainable and differentiating competitive advantages. Societe Generale's leading position in Europe, the depth of its corporate client portfolio, as well as its global franchises in equity derivatives and structured finance mean we can position ourselves as a provider of high value-added solutions, drawing on the financial engineering expertise that forms the core of our DNA. 

As they expand outside their home market, Chinese companies require a trusted partner. Societe Generale can support their cross-border developments by leveraging our own geographical footprint in more than 60 countries. We can help them with the financing of their international ventures (acquisition finance, project finance, bond and debt issuance); the financing of their international trade; and the management of their risks (with respect to interest rates, foreign exchange, and the prices of metals, agricultural commodities and energy).

We also work with financial institutions, building on our recognized expertise in offshore derivatives, to provide structured investment solutions for China’s rapidly growing pool of domestic investors. And we are positioning Societe Generale to benefit from future market opportunities in equities once China’s financial market opens further. Earlier this year, Societe Generale acted as joint bookrunner for a USD500 million “Yulan Bond” – a new class of bonds.

And in November 2021, we were mandated as one of the joint lead managers and book runners for the third consecutive year by China’s Ministry of Finance for its Euro bond issuance. This was a further demonstration of trust from the ministry regarding Societe Generale’s strong capability as a sovereign bond underwriter and will strengthen the relationship between the bank and the Chinese government, while reinforcing our leading position in sovereign bonds through such a highly visible and meaningful transaction.

Meanwhile, China is, of course, a key market for many multinationals. We strive to support such clients as they develop their China business with cash management, working capital and foreign exchange solutions – as well as insight. Alongside our traditional strengths, for example in Energy & Natural Resources, Commodities and the financing of assets such as aircraft and ships, we are putting more resources into the technology space, and particularly into areas such as smart mobility. 

Beyond sectoral expertise, it is above all the ability to connect businesses in different parts of the world that distinguishes us from many of its peers. As long ago as 2004, Societe Generale China launched the “Into Africa” program, leveraging the group’s global network to help Chinese enterprises grow in Africa. The program has since been upgraded to ‘African Express’ and Societe Generale has established 15China desks in Africa to serve Chinese companies and financial institutions in the region. We have similar “corridors” connecting our Chinese clients with their partners, customers and suppliers in Asia, Europe, Russia and the Americas – making us truly part of a bridge that links China to the world.