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HSBC plans more branches
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HSBC, Europe's largest lender, said yesterday it will open branches in China as soon as it gets the green light from the authorities, and expand its headcount by more than 50 percent before the end of this year.

Celebrating its first anniversary of local incorporation, HSBC, which holds a stake in Bank of Communications, said it will add 2,000 to 2,500 staff members to its current 4,900 in China, which is already double the number of March 2007.

The bank has also increased its outlets from 35 to 66 in the past year, up over 80 percent.

"Since our local incorporation a year ago, HSBC China has strengthened its position as the leading international bank," said Richard Yorke, president and CEO of HSBC China, stressing the bank's strong commitment to the mainland.

Last year, the bank's operating income was up 44.2 percent, or $451 million, on the mainland, fueled by China's continued economic growth and the opening of new business areas for the bank that came with the country's full market opening in line with its WTO commitments.

"This robust growth was achieved despite the associated costs of our rapid network expansion, which saw a 74.3 percent increase in service outlets. This shows HSBC China is profitable and that our rapid expansion is being conducted at a sustainable pace," he added.

(China Daily April 1, 2008)

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