Wells Fargo in Hong Kong and Shanghai
Wells Fargo in Hong Kong and Shanghai
October 31, 2016

Wells Fargo in Hong Kong and Shanghai

Wells Fargo provided services to Chinese immigrants after the Gold Rush brought them to California in the 1850s. Today, that service extends to several locations overseas.

Recently I visited China for the first time. As a Chinese-American, it was a unique opportunity for me to finally spend time with family I’ve never met before, and experience the country of my heritage. While there, I also took time to visit Wells Fargo’s offices in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Both offices showcase a two-thirds-size stagecoach model in their lobbies, greeting our team members and international clients alike with Wells Fargo’s iconic symbol. I brought along Shamrock, our newest plush pony, as a gift for my colleagues there.

Wells Fargo in Hong Kong and Shanghai
<em>Wells Fargo Messenger</em>, March 1917

Wells Fargo’s connection to China dates back to the 19th century. The California Gold Rush brought many Chinese people to North America, seeking economic opportunities. Wells Fargo regularly provided business services to Chinese customers, domestically and overseas as well. With an increasing demand for service to Asian ports, Wells Fargo established regular express service there in 1869. By the 1870s, Chinese customers made up fully one-fourth of the customers of some offices. From July to October 1866, for example, Chinese customers in Folsom, California initiated 118 of 640 money transactions.

Beginning in 1898, Wells Fargo regularly transferred money to Chinese customers in Hong Kong. For instance, our historical records show a large volume of telegraph transfers with Hong Kong in 1909; and Wells Fargo maintained correspondent banking relationships with banks in Canton, Hong Kong, Peking, Shanghai, and Tientsin. (To this day, Wells Fargo’s International Group maintains a large network of correspondent banks, with offices in more than 30 overseas locations in more than 130 countries.) In 1916, Wells Fargo established express offices in both Shanghai and Hong Kong. It seems serendipitous to me that these are the same two cities I, a Wells Fargo team member, visited a century later!

Wells Fargo in Hong Kong and Shanghai
Left: The Wells Fargo skyscraper in Shanghai. Right: Plush Pony on the stagecoach in Shanghai.
Photo: Joycee Wong

Today, Wells Fargo’s Shanghai office is on the 32nd floor of the famous Shanghai World Financial Center, currently the tallest skyscraper in Shanghai. But while the buildings for our offices may look different, I see that the same guiding principles have remained intact. Our commitment to building long-term relationships with our customers continues to guide our stagecoach forward today. (Pun intended!)

Note: This story was originally published on Jan. 30, 2014.