Big Four firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) recently disclosed its plans for an aggressive business expansion in China, backed by an investment of $1.25 billion over the next five years. PwC currently has offices in major Chinese cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen, as well as operations in Hong Kong and Macau. Its APAC divisions are already a significant source of earnings, bringing in $8.9 billion in fees, nearly 20% of PwC’s global revenue in 2021. The firm has been consistently ranked first on the Chinese Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ (CICPA) Top 100 Accounting Firms list for 18 years.
The move comes as part of PwC’s “The New Equation” strategic plan, focused on building trust and delivering sustainable outcomes in an increasingly uncertain business environment. The firm intends to create 100,000 net new jobs, which would effectively double its workforce in China, eclipsing its 22,000-strong employee base in the U.K. Additionally, PwC plans to establish ESG Centers of Excellence around the world, empowering thousands of business leaders, board members, and executives to build capabilities in pursuit of environmental, social, and governance goals.
The strategic plan seeks to prioritize investments in five key areas of critical importance: Digital Redesign; Digital Products and Solutions; Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG); Regional Economic Clusters, and Workforce of the Future. The new focus is intended to meet the emerging needs of a rapidly changing business environment head-on, and to provide PwC’s talent and its clients with the tools needed to stay competitive. The firm intends to admit 10 new partners yearly over its investment period, building teams around them as it expands its capabilities.
Raymund Chao, PwC Asia Pacific and China Chairman, said, “With our New Equation strategy, we will continue to support and contribute to China’s major national strategies to drive towards an enduring outcome of continued growth and development for its economy.”
In addition to growing its in-house talent, PwC will focus on its leverage of cloud, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence technologies to provide business insights and competitive advantages for its clients, as well as continuing its investment in implementing quality frameworks in its audits services.