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7.22.20   6:30 PM Markets

Hong Kong banks' hiring hurt as Trump trade spats and pandemic hamper growth

Hong Kong is a hotspot again - and for all the wrong reasons.

Hong Kong is a hotspot again - and for all the wrong reasons. 

Last week the US ended preferential economic treatment policies for Hong Kong, following China’s move to enact new security measures in the autonomous region - and, after that, China threatened retaliation over the move. For global super powers, for companies, for protestors - Hong Kong remains very much a battleground, and stakes are ever-increasing. 

And, today, July 22, China warned its students attending universities in the US to “be on guard” for “arbitrary interrogations.” 

Between the bug, and the beef, problems are starting to build up. Big banks are backing out of Hong Kong, and have done so consistently over the last 12 months. Our chart above depicts Hong Kong job postings of 4 global banks: 

  • Standard Chartered ($LON:STAN) postings declined 82%
  • Bank of America ($NYSE:BAC) postings fell 87.5%
  • Credit Suisse ($NYSE:CS) postings declined 34%
  • and, even with a recent uptick in postings, Morgan Stanley ($NYSE:MS) postings are down 19%

Even Goldman Sachs ($NYSE:GS) is seeing job postings in the region drop - although all of this comes amid an industry-wide decline in listings. It could get worse. Now, it’s increasingly evident that the city is facing a potential Coronavirus outbreak, although its cases only number past 100. But already some companies may be making long-term plans to stay away, and it's not likely the root cause of job postings decline is a pandemic. 

Amazon has aggressively ramped up an international presence in Asia, and particularly China, over recent years - but more recently, it looks as if the Seattle e-commerce titan is reconsidering staffing plans in the region. As shown in our chart above, Amazon ($NASDAQ:AMZN) job postings plunged about 60% from their 2020 peak, despite a rebound that came amid President Donald J. Trump's trade war with China. As previously reported in Thinknum Media, we've seen job postings decline in China as well, while rising in Japan and South Korea. 

Still, for the moment, most of the world's leading companies are in a hiring freeze, or something close to it. And, should US relations with China thaw, and as economies globally begin to fully rebound from the pandemic, data sets going forward will highlight which countries are losing and which countries are winning their post-pandemic plans. 

About the Data:

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales, and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue, and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.


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