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HSBC has been cutting headcount in Hong Kong, growing in China 

HSBC’s annual reports provide more than just information on results and the distribution of pay for its ultra-high earners. They also reveal the location of its employees. 

In 2022, HSBC said its workforce of 219,000 full-time employees was primarily located in India (39,000 employees), the UK (33,000), China (32,000), Hong Long (27,000) and France (6,000).

That India is HSBC's primary location for headcount is unsurprising when you consider its importance as a centre for back office and processing staff. That the UK is HSBC's second largest location is unsurprising given that the bank is still headquartered there. But the growth of mainland China at the expense of Hong Kong might come as a surprise if you haven't been concentrating. 

We, in fact, flagged HSBC's growth in China last year. The bank announced its "pivot to Asia" in 2020, but Asia appears to mean China. Since 2020, HSBC cut 8,000 jobs in London, 2,000 jobs in Hong Kong and added 5,000 in China. 

In today's presentation, the bank said 36% of enterprise critical roles are now held in Asia. These roles group general managers, anyone delivering strategy, responsible for growth and change, plus material risk takers in key trading and banking roles. 

Speaking today, CEO Noel Quinn told investors that the bank was reallocating capital all over Asia, and that it was focused on building a “strong wealth businesses in Mainland China, India, and Singapore,” in the image of the bank’s strong Hong Kong presence. 

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AUTHORZeno Toulon

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