HSBC plans more China tech jobs in push for market share

HSBC’s expansion plan in China, a key market for the bank, comes amid growing use of technology in the financial sector — from payments to transactions. (Reuters)
Updated 21 May 2019
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HSBC plans more China tech jobs in push for market share

  • Europe’s biggest bank by assets will boost headcount at its technology centers in Guangzhou, Shanghai and Xi’an by 14 percent
  • HSBC’s expansion plan in China comes amid growing use of technology in the financial sector — from payments to transactions
HONG KONG: HSBC plans to add more than 1,000 jobs this year at its technology development centers in China, as the Asia-focused lender seeks to bolster its presence in the world’s second largest economy.
Europe’s biggest bank by assets will boost headcount at its technology centers in Guangzhou, Shanghai and Xi’an by 14 percent from a current 7,000-strong workforce, said HSBC Chief Information Officer Darryl West.
In recent years the London-based bank has spent $3 billion annually on its group technology operations which employ 40,000 people worldwide, and West said annual investments of $3-$3.5 billion are planned over the next few years.
Many global banks set up low-cost hubs in China and India more than a decade ago to maintain their complex worldwide information technology networks, but these centers have now become a core part of their operations.
The centers develop and implement risk and fraud management technologies, as well as digital applications that make it easier for banks to attract customers and deliver faster and more secure services.
HSBC’s expansion plan in China, a key market for the bank, comes amid growing use of technology in the financial sector — from payments to transactions.
At stake is a bigger share of the billions of dollars worth of retail and corporate banking business in a major financial market with a growing customer base.
“There is a lot more we can do with technology in mainland China. The level of technology adoption and innovation in China is way ahead of other markets,” West told reporters during a tour of HSBC’s technology center in the southern city of Guangzhou last week.
“We see mainland China as a tremendous source of talent, not just for the local market but our technology operations globally. We are hiring very aggressively here,” he added.
About 30 percent of the work done at the Guangzhou center, the largest HSBC tech facility in China with more than 5,000 employees, is for the mainland market and that share is expected to grow over the next couple of years.
HSBC is also using China-based tech centers to develop banking products for its global network, such as the bank’s UK mobile app which was developed in the northwestern city of Xi’an.
Outside China, HSBC employs more than 10,000 people at technology centers in India, with the rest in countries such as Britain, Canada, Hong Kong and the United States.
HSBC has in recent years lifted investment in China, including the prosperous southern Pearl River Delta region. Mainland China and Hong Kong together accounted for nearly 40 percent of the bank’s revenue in 2018.
The bank will invest $15-$17 billion in the next three years in areas including technology and China, its Chief Executive John Flint said last year.
The limited physical presence of foreign banks in China compared to dominant domestic rivals has been a challenge.
HSBC’s losses in retail banking and wealth management (RBWM) in mainland China widened to $200 million last year from $44 million in 2017. The bank aimed to reverse that with its investments in technology.
“Things like that, we see as very important for the next phase of our business growth ... once the major investments have gone in, RBWM will grow bigger and also profitable,” said HSBC Greater China Chief Executive Helen Wong.


Airbus bags Cebu Air deal as sales flounder at Paris Air Show

Updated 44 sec ago
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Airbus bags Cebu Air deal as sales flounder at Paris Air Show

  • Cebu Air’s order included 10 of Airbus’s new long-range A321XLR passenger aircraft
  • There is speculation that a decade-long boom in orders might be coming to an end

LE BOURGET: Airbus struck a $6 billion plane deal with Philippines budget airline Cebu Air on Tuesday, extending its lead on orders at a subdued Paris Airshow as rival Boeing struggles following the grounding of its top-selling jet.
Cebu’s order included 10 of Airbus’s new long-range A321XLR passenger aircraft, which was launched at the show on Monday, as well as 16 wide-body A330neos and five single-aisle A320neos.
Reuters reported on Monday that Cebu was poised to buy more than two dozen Airbus planes.
Sources familiar with the matter say American Airlines and leasing giant GECAS are also in talks to buy the A321XLR, which aims to carve out new routes for airlines with smaller planes and steal a march on Boeing’s plans for a potential all-new mid-market jet, the NMA.
Despite the flurry of activity around the A321XLR, however, dealmaking at the aerospace industry’s biggest annual event has been quieter than normal, fueling speculation that a decade-long boom in orders might be coming to an end.
With airlines struggling with over-capacity, slowing economies and geopolitical tensions, some analysts warn Airbus and Boeing could face a growing number of cancelations from their bulging order books.
Boeing in particular is suffering after the grounding of its MAX 737 aircraft in March following two deadly crashes.
However, the planemakers are confident of continued strong demand for more fuel-efficient planes as emissions regulations tighten and as air travel continues to rise, driven by Asia’s growing middle classes. Boeing on Monday increased its 20-year industry demand forecast.
“Although investors have started to ask questions about the state of the upcycle, the aerospace industry remains very confident in the current state of the market,” analysts at Vertical Research Partners said in a note.
Cebu Air Chief Financial Officer Andrew Huang told a news conference the 16 A330neo jets it was buying would have up to 460 seats, allowing the airline to add new international routes.
Cebu, which operates the Cebu Pacific brand, had a 51 percent share of the Philippine domestic market in 2018, according to company data. In the international market, its 19 percent share was second only to full-service rival Philippine Airlines with 28 percent.
After announcing no major aircraft orders on Monday, Boeing could unveil some on Tuesday, including a potential deal with Air Lease Corp. whose founder Steven Udvar-Hazy told reporters on Monday he would be “at Boeing tomorrow.”