HSBC to axe up to 3,000 jobs in Hong Kong by 2014

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Banking giant HSBC said Wednesday it will slash up to 3,000 jobs in Hong Kong over the next three years, as part of its global cost-cutting drive as it shifts focus to fast-growing markets.

The British-based lender last month announced plans to save up to $3.5 billion by 2013 and to axe 30,000 jobs globally by 2013.

The Asia-focused bank has also said it will hire up to 15,000 people in emerging markets by 2014 as it looks to Asia's booming financial sector to power future growth, yet is still pushing ahead with the Hong Kong jobs cull.

"We don't know exactly how many roles will be reduced but our best estimate is approximately 3,000 roles in Hong Kong within three years," a spokeswoman at HSBC Hong Kong office told AFP.

"(This is part of the) reshaping business so that HSBC is less complex, more efficient, more effective and less bureaucratic," she said, adding that the job cuts did not affect its earlier plan to hire 15,000 people in emerging markets.

The spokeswoman said the actual number of job cuts in Hong Kong could be "significantly less", as the bank will try to redeploy some employees for other roles.

"Hong Kong is the core market for HSBC. We will continue to attract businesses and retain talents in the market," she added.

More than a third of HSBC's current workforce of 300,000 are already in Asia, which contributed 59 percent of the group's pre-tax profits in the first six months of 2011 -- up 16 percent from the same period last year.

HSBC -- which unlike many of its rivals survived the 2008 crisis without state aid -- announced in August it would sell 195 retail branches, mainly in upstate New York, to First Niagara Bank for an estimated $1 billion.

It also said it would sell its United States credit card and retail services to US lender Capital One Financial Corp in a deal worth around $32.7 billion.

HSBC was founded in Hong Kong and Shanghai in 1865, although it remains headquartered in London.

© 2011 AFP

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