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BOCI acquires on-line retail brokerage business
from Hutchison and CSFB

Hong Kong, [Saturday, March 23 2002] -- BOC International ("BOCI"), Credit Suisse First Boston ("CSFB") and Hutchison E-Commerce ("Hutchison") jointly announced today that they have reached an agreement for CSFB and HECL to sell their online retail brokerage joint-venture, Hutchison CSFBdirect ("the Company") to BOCI. The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The transaction enables BOCI to leverage on the Company's award-winning technology platform and established business operations as well as its online customer base, while the Company will benefit from BOCI's business infrastructure, extensive distribution network and broad customer base.

This transaction is expected to close in early May 2002 upon satisfaction of certain conditions, including obtaining requisite regulatory and other related approvals.

Mr. Fung Chi Kin, Co-Head of BOCI Equity Sales and Trading, commented, "We are delighted that we have been able to secure this opportunity. Hutchison CSFBdirect is currently one of the most successful online retail brokerage service providers, offering investors in Hong Kong a wide range of related services. Customers of the Company can rest assured that they will not be affected by the change of ownership after our take-over. We are committed to developing the business without disruption to its customers and BOCI, the only investment bank wholly owned by Bank of China, has pledged to providing a global advantage where the Company can advance further its online retail brokerage business."

Commenting for both shareholders on the sale to BOCI, Hutchison's Executive Director Dominic Lai said, "We believe an established financial institution that can offer a comprehensive range of financial services and products has a major competitive advantage in providing online retail brokerage services in this market. Both shareholders have decided that a direct transfer of ownership to BOCI represents the best way forward for the Company as it can benefit from Bank of China Group's vast retail market resources and established connections in Hong Kong. I wish the Company a successful future under the new ownership."

The Company was formed as a joint venture of Hutchison E-Commerce, a wholly owned subsidiary within the Hutchison Whampoa Group, and Credit Suisse First Boston. Since its launch in January 2001, the Company has become one of the leading online brokerage service providers in Hong Kong, providing self-directed investors with the information and tools they need to take greater control of their investments. In addition, the Company provides a suite of integrated investment products and services, allowing access to various financial products from the Hong Kong and US equity markets.


Media Contacts

Melody WangBOC International2230
Sandra ChangHutchison E-Commerce Limited9747