HSBC, StanChart to keep up China expansion in 2009

SHANGHAI, March 11- HSBC Holdings Plc and Standard Chartered Plc , the two biggest foreign banks in China, said on Wednesday they would continue to expand in the country despite global cost-cutting by banks struggling to survive the financial crisis.

HSBC China, whose pretax profit surged 85.2 percent last year to 2.19 billion yuan ($320 million), plans to boost its number of outlets in 2009 to 100 from 82 and will hire 1,000 employees to support the expansion, it said in a statement.

Rival Standard Chartered aims to add 11 to 15 sub-branches in China in 2009, its China consumer banking head Wilson Chia said in an interview.

He added that the bank would continue investing in people but gave no projections for staffing levels in China, which have risen five-fold to 2,000 over the past three years.

The China expansion plans at HSBC, Europe's largest bank, contrast with its plans to shut its U.S. consumer lending business, cutting 6,100 jobs.

"Our growth was driven by China's stimulus efforts, which enabled continued economic growth and market confidence amid the global financial crisis," HSBC said.


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