China's economy is going through a massive growth phase that has had a strongly positive impact on job creation and recruitment activities in Hong Kong, according to James Carss, director of banking and financial services for the Hong Kong operations of recruiting firm Hudson. 'There has been a tremendous increase in the number of hedge funds launching in Hong Kong, and the flood of China IPOs has led to big increases in the jobs on offer in Hong Kong from investment banks and accounting firms,' Mr Carss said. 'This has had a huge impact in Hong Kong. We now have a lot of employers looking for people who not only have the best 'Ivy League' qualifications in their field but are also conversant with Putonghua - a difficult profile to fill.' Hong Kong remained the first choice from which to serve the China market because operating under the tax and legal systems was relatively easy. Shanghai was playing catch-up in these areas and doing so fast, Mr Carss said, but it would be some years before the mainland city displaced Hong Kong as the gateway to the China market. Andrew Brushfield, managing director of the Hong Kong office of specialist financial recruitment agency Robert Half International, said the impact of China on the Hong Kong job market was most evident in the finance sector. 'With Chinese organisations becoming more sophisticated in their reporting there is a need at a more senior end for candidates with experience at a multinational corporation level.' Candidates relocating to China, generally expected as a minimum condition that their employers footed the tax equalisation bill to ensure their after-tax pay was no lower than it would be in Hong Kong. Graham Price, group general manager for Gemini Personnel, said: 'In the early days it was very much SMEs opening up for business over the border, but today investments are being led by larger and more sophisticated Hong Kong players and multinationals.'