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Brighter prospects for Ernst & Young

ERNST & Young forecasts double-digit revenue growth in China this financial year as the nation revives its economic stimulus, its China head said today.

The accounting firm targets a double-digit revenue growth for the financial year starting from July, said Albert Ng, Ernst & Young's China chairman and managing partner in China, including China's mainland, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.

The firm's first-quarter business ending in September already showed strong momentum, Ng said.

"The financial crisis did hit the industry as we can't be out of the economic curve," Ng said. "However, we're bullish about China's growth prospect for the long term."

Ernst & Young enjoyed about 40 percent to 50 percent revenue growth in China before the financial crisis, which dragged its revenue down 4 percent in the 2008 financial year.

The big-four accounting firms, which used to enjoy rich pickings in China, have cut income, workforces or offered wage cuts to weather the financial crisis.

The financial crisis acted as double whammy together with China's already ailing equities market. Initial public offerings and merger and acquisition transactions are two big revenue contributors to accounting firms.

Ng added that the firm is also taking advantage of the crisis to move into a new location with more space for future development.

The accounting firm today signed a deal with the Shanghai World Financial Center to rent eight floors in the landmark building in Lujiazui Area in Pudong.

The accounting firm will move into the building as its new office in July 2010. Ernst & Young also plans to recruit about 1,500 university graduates each year on the mainland.


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