The bank, which is now undergoing a major overhaul which has resulted in tens of thousands of people being made redundant in the last couple of years, reported a six per cent jump in revenues to $13.7bn.
The company said a 13% increase in reported operating expenses to USD9.38 billion, reflecting business investment and spending on digital capabilities, "more than offset" higher revenue.
Pre-tax profits from its Hong Kong operations hit a new record of $3.15bn, providing more than half the total for the group.
HSBC said revenue growth was driven partly by higher deposit margins and balance growth in Retail Banking & Wealth Management as well as global liquidity and cash management growth in its Commercial Banking business, particularly in Asia.
"This has enabled us to announce a further share buyback,"he said".
He plans to double down on HSBC's "pivot" to Asia and China in particular, despite some setbacks in the plan launched in June 2015.
5 things to know about day 3 of severe weather
Today other than a few non severe storms this morning we will be mostly cloudy today with highs in the upper 70s-mid 80s. Most of the storms will stay north of I-70, so there's a good chance the south side of town remains storm-free.
Shares in HSBC Holdings (LON:HSBA) have fallen into the red in London this morning, even as Europe's biggest bank unveiled plans to return cash to shareholders.
The main pillar of that strategy is centered around the fast growing Pearl River Delta region in southern China that borders Hong Kong.
Mr Flint said his primary aim was to "grow the businesses safely", adding: "We have increased investment to deliver that aim". HSBC seeks to make it its gateway to the world's second-largest economy.
One of the biggest decisions he will have to make is over HSBC's perennially underperforming US business, which has been barely profitable in recent years as it suffers from being sub-scale relative to domestic rivals.
"There is no straightforward inorganic solution, there's no quick fix", he said.
He succeeded on the last front, bucking a six-year decline in annual revenues, but was also forced to disclose that HSBC faced at least $1.5 billionn in penalties over alleged tax evasion and money laundering connected to its Swiss private bank - a sign that such troubles will fall to another generation of leaders.