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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 March, 2005, 10:44 GMT
HSBC bank 'to offshore more jobs'
HSBC bank
After major acquisitions HSBC is looking to cut costs
Global bank HSBC says it expects to 'offshore' more clerical jobs from Western countries to Asia in order to cut costs, a top executive says.

The world's second-largest bank already has 13,000 workers in call centres around Asia.

But chief operating officer Alan Jebson said he would be very surprised if less than 25,000 people were working in them over the next three years.

Offshoring has angered workers and trade unions in both the US and UK.

Trade unions have blamed the practice for job losses and say offshoring has allowed bosses to cap wages at home.

"I don't have a precise target but I would be surprised if we had less than 15 (global service centres) in three years' time," Alan Jebson told reporters.

No one was available from HSBC to comment on whether UK jobs are likely to be on the line in the near future.

Happy customers

Commenting on the backlash from offshoring, Mr Jebson said it was mostly confined to the media and that there was no "significant adverse reaction" from customers.

Plans to create more call centres in Asia are unlikely face any political hurdles either, he said.

"Politicians and media can do their worst but in the end it's the customers that matter," he said.

He pointed out that the bank saved about $20,000 (10,400) for every job it moved.

Each new call centre costs the bank from $20m to $30m to set up.

HSBC has four service centres in India, three in China and one in Malaysia, one in the Philippines and one in Sri Lanka.

Vietnam could be its next outpost, where there is a high population of English and French speakers.

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