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HSBC's most exciting Asian technology jobs are appearing in China, not Hong Kong

If you want a technology job at HSBC in Asia, Hong Kong is probably the place you’re wanting to base yourself. Hong Kong is a global tech and digital banking hub for the bank, which currently has 37 local tech vacancies on its careers website.

But you might want to think again. HSBC now has 389 tech openings across the border in China. And it’s not only about the (big) numbers – many of these openings are for highly-skilled roles focused on using emerging technology to drive HSBC’s mainland expansion. China is no longer just providing basic IT support to the rest of HSBC’s global operations.

About 30% of the development work done in Guangzhou, HSBC’s largest Chinese tech centre, is for the local market, and that proportion is expected to grow over the next two years, reports the South China Morning Post.

There’s (a lot) more technology hiring on the horizon at HSBC in China. The bank wants to add more than 1,000 jobs at its development centres in Guangzhou, Shanghai and Xian this year, according to the SCMP. That’s a 14% rise from its current 7,000-strong mainland tech headcount. Other global banks with tech centres in China aren’t hiring on the same scale as HSBC, although Citi and UBS have 162 and 92 jobs on offer, respectively.

“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,” HSBC chief information officer Darryl West told the newspaper.

Meanwhile, the quantity and quality of jobs on offer at HSBC in China is now even temping some Hong Kong-based technologists to consider relocating, despite the lower pay and higher rates of income tax on the mainland.

“I’ve seen people moving there for a career uplift – in particular to manage more people and lead bigger teams,” says Vince Natteri, director of Pinpoint Asia in Hong Kong, adding that some candidates are put off HSBC technology jobs in China because they lack Mandarin skills or don’t think they could adjust to living in China.

While technology jobs that demand frequent interaction with the front office and/or clients have traditionally been based in Hong Kong, Chinese tech roles are becoming increasingly front-office focused. Natteri says more DevOps jobs – one of the most in-demand roles in banking technology in Asia – are now shifting to China.

Many of HSBC’s current Chinese jobs reflect this trend. For example, a Guangzhou-based senior software engineering vacancy (within global banking and markets) requires knowledge of DevOps and interaction with the FX and commodities front-office.

If you move from Hong Kong to take a banking technology job in China, get set for a pay cut – salaries can be up to about 40% lower in the same function. VP-level Java developers at banks in Hong Kong, for example, earn up to HK$1,500k (US$190k), while their mainland counterparts take home RMB800k (US$115k), according to a 2019 pay survey by recruiters Hays.

Image credit: estherpoon, Getty

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AUTHORSimon Mortlock Content Manager

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