Ernst & Young plans to invest at least US$200 million in China in the coming few years to expand its business in this market, top company officials said yesterday.
The service company will spend most of the money on recruitment and training and will also set up more offices, according to Paul J. Ostling, Chief Operating Officer of Ernst & Young Global.
Ostling told China Daily in an interview yesterday that the company had decided to make a "sizeable investment" in China, to support the growing needs of clients in this fast developing market. The investment of at least US$200 million or more comes as China "becomes more strategically important."
The firm plans to recruit about 1,000 university graduates in China this year, compared to 800 last year, boosting its China-based staff to nearly 5,000. It aims to expand to more than 25,000 employees in the next decade.
The local recruitment plan is similar to that of the other Big Four accounting firms in China.
Deloitte, for example, said it wants to hire 1,500 new staff by the middle of next year. KPMG also aims to recruit 1,000 graduates and 300 senior staff this year.
Apart from hiring local staff, Ernst & Young is also interested in hiring overseas Chinese that are familiar with the Chinese market, said Ostling.
The company now owns five floors of Beijing Oriental Plaza's E3 Tower in the downtown area of the Chinese capital. Approximately 2,000 staff will be working there by the end of the year, compared to about 200 four years ago when it first moved to the building.
David Sun, chairman of Ernst & Young China, said the company plans to open up offices in more mainland cities in coming years, and more specifically, one or two new offices in the internal regions over the next 12 to 18 months.
It currently has offices in 10 major cities including Hong Kong, Macao, Shanghai and Shenzhen, as well as Wuhan in Central China and Chengdu in the southwest, offering auditing, accounting, tax and financial consulting services to more than 200 listed companies in Hong Kong and the mainland.
Company sources said Ernst & Young's auditing and consultation services in China are expanding by more than 30 per cent annually.
Sun said the company would focus on recruiting new people in the future, including hiring professionals from local counterparts instead of acquiring local firms, though it is still seeking more opportunities to co-operate with local partners to develop its business.
The company took over Dahua, a major Shanghai-based accounting firm, in 2001. However, though the Chinese partner's local resources and network did help a lot for its expansion, Sun conceded that the convergence of the two different cultures was not that easy.
Source: China Daily