BT Ignite has relocated its regional headquarters from Australia to Hong Kong as part of an ongoing restructuring. The business services arm of BT Group will also eventually withdraw from the six joint ventures it has in the region, including 20 per cent in Hong Kong mobile carrier SmarTone, as it focuses on providing services to multinational corporate clients. Recently appointed BT Ignite Asia-Pacific president Graham Moore said the headquarters' move would involve hiring a small number of senior staff to add to the 80 people already based in the SAR. Mr Moore said Hong Kong's proximity to the large north Asian markets and its high-quality telecommunications infrastructure were behind the relocation. But BT Ignite's operations will largely remain dispersed among Japan, Australia and Hong Kong. Mr Moore said his personal fondness for Hong Kong - he has lived here twice before - also influenced the decision. In a statement, Financial Secretary Antony Leung Kam-chung said BT's move to Hong Kong reflected the company's confidence in the potential for growth in the regional market. '[Hong Kong's] strengths make us a superb partner for foreign-owned companies eager to do business in China,' Mr Leung said. Mr Moore said that, with the economic difficulties hitting the telecommunications sector, BT had moved away from being a company 'that does everything' in the Asia-Pacific region and would concentrate on arranging global communications services for corporate clients who were either located in Europe or did business there. In Hong Kong, BT's clients include HSBC Holdings, CSFB, Prudential and Wallem Shipping. BT is in the process of appointing distribution partners to provide communication services in the region. 'The telcoms model that does it all is a broken model these days. It's not financially viable,' Mr Moore said. What has become financially viable for BT in the existing economic climate is finding ways for its clients to save money. Mr Moore said it could take at least 12 months before firms began looking to resume spending money on expansion. 'There are not a lot of companies opening new branches at the moment. In fact, there is still a certain amount of reduction going on,' he said. Meanwhile, Mr Moore remained committed to supporting SmarTone as long as BT was an investor, but indicated the company did not fit into BT's long-term plans. 'I think it makes sense over time for us to withdraw from that venture,' he said. BT Ignite was one of four major sub-divisions of the BT Group but Mr Moore said that, under the restructuring, all the divisions were effectively being brought under the BT name again. Building an awareness of the company's brand name in the region would be part of his challenge as the new Asia-Pacific president. 'Some of our customers even thought we were gone,' he said.