Hang Seng Bank Limited, a local unit of HSBC, announced on Monday that its operating profit went up 12 percent year on year to 8,934 million HK dollars ( about 1,151 million U.S. dollars) in the first half of the year. Vice Chairman and Chief Executive of Hang Seng Bank Rose Lee said with an economic slowdown in the Chinese mainland, greater market volatility and keen competition, the operating environment remained challenging. Nevertheless, the bank\'s profit attributable to shareholders was 18,468 million HK dollars, doubling that for the same period last year, and a return on average shareholders\' funds of 35.9 percent was achieved, she said. Lee noted that Hang Seng Bank (China) Limited enhanced its product suite and continued to invest in service delivery infrastructure and brand building. the company\'s strong network in the Yangtze Delta Region and southern China placed them well to capture opportunities generated by increasing cross-border economic integration and renminbi internationalization. \"Our wholly owned subsidiary, Hang Seng Investment Management Limited, was the firstnon-Mainland financial institution in Hong Kong to be granted RMB Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor status, enabling us to invest in Mainland securities with renminbi raised in Hong Kong. We expect to launch an A-share exchange- traded fund in the second half of this year,\" she said.