Written by By Yilei Sun, CNN
If huge layoffs are inevitable at HSBC's investment bank, it is unlikely to come as a big surprise to Chinese bankers.
"It's just how you survive," said Fu Yunying, president of China Construction Bank's (CCB) branch in Dalian, Liaoning Province, China, which has recruited one of the largest staff budgets in the country.
CCB has paid a total of nearly $11 billion in Hong Kong and mainland bonuses to maintain its strongest market share, in addition to big capital expenditure on high-profile, "out-of-the-box" investment banking projects, Fu told CNN.
"These big investment banking projects have definitely contributed to our market share in the international banking industry, and I think they've made us the strongest bank today."
CCB, with 45,000 staff, is the country's second-largest bank by market share and ranks fourth for investment banking revenue.
Fu added that, while there were no plans to merge the bank's investment banking arm with HSBC's, the two banks already share research teams and traders, so it might be hard to prevent job cuts in the future.
Shrinking market share
HSBC chairman John Flint will travel to Dalian next week to meet Fu and staff from other local banks as part of his first international tour since assuming the role earlier this month.
Flint hopes the visit will build upon the momentum behind the bank's recent hiring spree to turn around its investment banking business in Asia-Pacific.
While the Hong Kong-based bank has made efforts to establish a strong foothold in the region, it has endured a poor few years.
In 2015, it was found to have fallen short of requirements to align its money laundering safeguards and securities clearing systems with international standards.
Recent industry data has also indicated that a so-called "winner-takes-all" industry has led to a smaller pie for weaker players, meaning companies and agencies are becoming harder to acquire.
So far, news of massive layoffs at HSBC have been mostly downplayed in China.
"This kind of job destruction and migration would be quite inevitable in the long term, especially if you think of global banks starting to compete with local players," said Tay Ching-Lee, a professor of finance at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
"People will become more price-conscious and certainly some of these banks could get into trouble if they can't bring enough new talent and technologies.
"But that's not in the macro picture. The more important element is the repercussions of this in China's domestic real economy."
Even though China's economy has slowed sharply in recent years, it remains the biggest market for major banks, making China a promising opportunity for the likes of CCB.
Mao Xiaohui, associate professor of finance at the University of Hong Kong, said Bank of China was getting into heated competition with CCB and HSBC in the middle-sized cities of the Pearl River Delta, a major engine of the country's long-term economic growth.
Consequently, the economy could see some "mild" layoffs, but the long-term impact for the Chinese banking industry would be "very limited," Mao said.