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HSBC likely to shut down retail banking operations in South Korea

London based HSBC is likely to close down its retail banking business in South Korea and is engaged in discussions with the country's financial regulatory authorities, after it failed to dispose of the operations.

Korea Development Bank (KDB) had abandoned its plan to buy HSBC’s South Korean retail banking business in July, due to indifferences on employment conditions.

HSBC Hong Kong-based spokesman Gareth Hewett was quoted by Bloomberg Businessweek as saying that the country remained as its crucial market and that investment in developing its Korean global banking and markets will continue.

"Until we have taken a decision, we will continue to concentrate on delivering a high level of service to our customers," Hewett added.

The lender launched its operation in 1998 in the country and currently manages 11 retail banking branches. As of 31 December 2011, it had KRW25 trillion ($23bn) of assets.

In order to meet the new capital requirements and emerge from the effects of sovereign debt crisis in Europe, the bank is offloading its assets as well as exiting businesses in various markets, such as Japan and Thailand and across the world.