British banking group HSBC is looking to hire 2,000 to 3,000 wealth planners in China over four years amid escalating tensions between China and the West.

The bank has already hired 100 wealth planners in Guangzhou and Shanghai.

The London-based bank has been heavily criticised recently for backing the controversial national security law in Hong Kong imposed by Beijing.

The law offers Beijing broad judicial powers in Hong Kong, which critics said would crush Hong Kong’s freedom.

Last month, a report revealed that HSBC is considering new investments in wealth management and insurance in mainland China.

The move comes as China continues liberalisation of its financial services industry.

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Bloomberg quoted HSBC CEO Noel Quinn as saying: “Current tensions between China and the U.S. inevitably create challenging situations for an organisation with HSBC’s footprint.

“However, the need for a bank capable of bridging the economies of east and west is acute, and we are well placed to fulfill this role.”

In an effort to improve performance, the bank is betting on Asia which it said showed resilience amid challenging market conditions in H1 2020. Meanwhile, it plans to cut back in the US and Europe.

At the same time, it is continuing its group-wide overhaul that is expected to result in 35,000 redundancies.

“Our operations across Asia delivered resilient performances during 1H20, despite interest rate headwinds, adverse market impacts in life insurance manufacturing and a rise in ECL.

“In 1H20, reported profit before tax in Asia represented more than 170% of Group profits, underlining the importance of the region to the Group.

HSBC’s reported pre-tax profit plunged 65% in H1 2020 to $4.32bn from $12.41bn as it increased its loan loss provisions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.