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Old January 11th, 2022 #8
Robbie Key
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Goldman Sachs seeks to hire more than 400 employees in China, Hong Kong

May 17, 20214 min read

Goldman Sachs is hiring more than 400 employees in mainland China and Hong Kong, the latest foreign bank to seek to further expand its presence in the world's second-biggest economy, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The American bank has filled or is in the process of filling 320 positions, including 70 in its investment bank, according to the person, who was not authorised to discuss the matter publicly. It plans to add another 100 staff before the end of 2021, the person said.

Goldman declined to comment on its hiring plans on Monday.

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The hiring spree was reported earlier on Monday by Bloomberg.

Goldman's hiring push comes as foreign lenders are racing to take full control of their mainland China joint ventures and seek new licences to sell directly to mainland consumers as Beijing further opens up parts of its financial sector, including asset management, insurance and securities.

In December, Goldman reached an agreement with its Chinese partner Beijing Gao Hua Securities to take 100 per cent control of its mainland joint venture, Goldman Sachs Gao Hua. It is waiting on final approval from regulators to complete the deal.

The joint venture was started in 2004, but Goldman has operated in the Chinese capital markets since the 1990s.

In December, David Solomon, Goldman's CEO, said taking full control of the joint venture represented a "significant commitment" by the bank to its China business.

Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon during a television interview at the World Economic Forum in 2019. Under Solomon's leadership, the American bank is expanding its presence in mainland China and Hong Kong.

"This focuses on growing and strengthening our existing China businesses, expanding our addressable market and investing in talent and technology," Solomon said in an internal memo at the time.

Goldman employed 40,500 people at the end of last year, with 28 per cent of its staff in Asia, according to its annual report.

Asia accounted for 14 per cent of Goldman's revenue in 2020, or US$6.2 billion, and 3 per cent of its pre-tax profit, or US$419 million.

Hoping to take advantage of rising incomes and future growth in China, financial services companies, from banks to asset managers, are rapidly expanding their boots on the ground and increasing control over their existing partnerships in the mainland, particularly in the Greater Bay Area.

HSBC, one of Hong Kong's three currency-issuing lenders, is on track to hire more than 1,000 frontline staff in its wealth management business in Asia this year, as part of a US$6 billion investment in the region.

Credit Suisse plans to triple its headcount in China over the next three years, while JPMorgan Chase took a 71 per cent ownership stake in its mainland securities joint venture in November. Morgan Stanley and UBS are other major banks looking to take full ownership of their securities operations in China.

Standard Chartered said in March it wants to triple its income from the bay area over the next five years and plans to increase its headcount in the mainland Chinese cities in the zone from 1,400 to 2,500 by 2023.

Citigroup said in March it plans to hire up to 1,700 people across its businesses in Hong Kong as it seeks to tap increasing capital flows between the city and mainland China and target rising wealth in the bay area. It also is seeking a licence later this year to open a new wholly owned domestic securities business in China.

DBS, Singapore's biggest bank and a rival to HSBC, said in April it planned to buy a 13 per cent stake in Shenzhen Rural Commercial Bank and was opening to increasing its stake in the future.