OCBC retains Wing Hang name for China strategy

From 1 October 2014, Wing Hang Bank (WHB) will be known as OCBC Wing Hang.

The new brand logo incorporates OCBC Bank's signature Chinese sailing vessel symbol, which is said to be inspired by the enterprising spirit, resourcefulness and resilience of Southeast Asia's pioneering immigrants. The words 'OCBC' and 'Wing Hang' are rendered in OCBC's corporate red, and black.

“By extension, it is emblematic of OCBC Bank's vision and drive, its readiness to pursue opportunities and its emphasis on innovation. These characteristics are expressed in the products and services it offers to meet customers' increasingly sophisticated needs. OCBC Wing Hang will similarly embrace and demonstrate these values over time as part of its embedded corporate culture,” said OCBC in a press statement.

OCBC added that the new name signifies a new beginning for WHB as a subsidiary of OCBC Bank and OCBC Bank thereby further entrenches its Greater China presence from which to execute its Greater China strategy for higher business growth.

The integration of WHB with OCBC Group will be “implemented in a balanced and seamless manner, adopting best practices while preserving the franchise value of WHB.”

“Rather than integrating purely for uniformity, the approach will be a considered one that seeks to understand and accommodate differences in operational practices, markets and customer segments.”

In a conversation with Marketing, Graham Hitchmough, regional director of Brand Union said that the move was a wise one for smoother transition into the Greater China market as it retains the WHB's familiarity factor. While the short term plan would be to simply leverage the brand name, Hitchmough speculates that OCBC certainly has a long term plan put in place to extend its own name while phasing out the WHB brand. This is naming migration strategy is one commonly undertaken by banks and telcos.

“Some brands are able to jump right to the end and rename an entity completely if there are no barriers. However, the co-brand approach gives the best of both worlds. Through the naming, OCBC is able to extend its name into the Chinese market whilst retaining the trust of the WHB customers,” said Hitchmough.