PwC plans to double its China workforce to 40,000

23 November 2021 2 min. read
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Big Four professional services giant PwC has announced plans to add 20,000 new roles to its China division. The news comes as the global firm sinks more than €1 billion into its offices across the country.

PwC is already the most heavily reliant on its Asia-Pacific revenues among the Big Four accounting and consulting firms, with the region generating €7.88 billion ($8.9 billion) in fees for the company in financial year 2021. That’s already close to 20% of PwC’s global turnover.

While PwC does not provide specific revenue or profit figures for China, as the region’s resident economic superpower, it can be assumed that a large portion of this success is down to PwC’s wide-ranging presence in the vast country. PwC has offices in 24 cities across Mainland China, as well as hubs in Macau and Hong Kong, while it has 800 partners and more than 20,000 staff in those offices.

PwC plans to double its China workforce to 40,000

As PwC looks to tap into the growing potential of China, the firm has unveiled plans to double its size in the country. Over the next five years, the group will inject €1.1 billion into its China locales, enabling them to double their national headcount to 40,000. For perspective, this would see PwC China become almost twice the size of the company’s UK operations, which employ around 22,000 people.

According to a statement from the firm, as part of PwC’s ‘The New Equation’ strategy, launched earlier in 2021, as well as recruitment, PwC’s investment in China will focus on things like digitising its products, and strengthening its environmental, social and governance standards.

PwC Asia Chairman Raymund Chao said of the news, “China continues to perform remarkably well despite ongoing global challenges. We will continue to support China's key national strategies and contribute to the continued growth and development of its economy.”

The five-year plan is announced at a volatile moment in China-US relations, however. The global professional services industry has been increasingly caught in the cross-fire of escalating tensions between the leading economies, and Washington regulators have even threatened to delist Chinese companies from New York stock exchanges, after auditors failed to hand over the audits of the companies’ financial statements for inspection.

The Big Four accounting firms – PwC, KPMG, Deloitte and EY – are at the heart of these tensions, as they audited 141 Chinese companies listed in the US as of June 30th 2021, according to the US audit watchdog.

PwC is also set to provide accounting and consulting services for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. The firm has been involved in the majority of Olympic Games since Sydney 2000, assisting in areas such as sustainability, legacy, cost reduction and project management. The firm was recently selected to independently review the process for selecting and evaluating boxing referees and judges for Tokyo 2020.