Morgan Stanley is pulling talent out of China


As the ol’ saying goes: never put all your tech experts in one country.

Morgan Stanley has reportedly pulled more than 200 tech developers out of mainland China. The decision has impacted around a third of the bank’s China tech experts, who’ve mostly relocated to Hong Kong and Singapore.

Why’s this happening?

Revisions to Beijing’s anti-espionage law came into effect on 1 July:

  • ⛔ they regulate the transfer of sensitive info out of China, so…
  • 🕵️ anything authorities deem relevant to China’s “national security and interests” can now effectively be treated like a state secret.

The techies left behind are now building stand-alone China infrastructure for Morgan Stanley (reportedly at vast cost), to comply with the new rules.

Morgan Stanley isn’t the first multinational reassessing its China operations in response to tighter national security laws:

  • Mintz’s Beijing office was shut andfive local staff arrested in March
  • Bain’s Shanghai office was raided and staff questioned in April, and
  • Capvision offices across the country were raided in May on allegations they paid officials to leak secrets for offshore clients.

Intrigue’s take: Whatever Beijing gains in national security here, it risks losing in international investment and business confidence. And given its latest GDP numbers, that’s no longer such an easy trade-off.

Also worth noting:

  • Beijing released its expanded counter-espionage law for public comment in December, before China’s top legislative body rubber-stamped it in April.
  • Responding to criticism, China’s foreign ministry said “every country has the right to safeguard national security through domestic legislation” and “as long as one abides by laws and regulations, there is no need to worry”.
Latest Author Articles
The geopolitics of UEFA football

With Europe’s UEFA men’s football (sorry, ‘soccer’) championship final happening this Sunday, what better time to have a look at the geopolitics of it all?

11 July, 2024
Why banks are closely following record-breaking Hurricane Beryl

With winds reaching 165 mph, Hurricane Beryl made landfall in Grenada and St Vincent on Monday and was upgraded to a Category 5 storm yesterday. 5 is the highest rating on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, which is used to estimate potential property damage.

3 July, 2024
China’s Central Bank dips into bond market amid economic slump

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) announced on Monday that it was going to dip its toe into the open market and “borrow” Chinese government bonds from primary dealers.

2 July, 2024
What Julian Assange has left behind

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is now a free man in his native Australia, after a deal with the US saw him plead guilty to one charge of seeking to obtain and disclose classified material.

27 June, 2024