The first wave of redundancies and foreclosures due to the international financial crisis has hit overseas companies in Shanghai, with nearly 50 having laid off more than 2,200 staff, local media reported yesterday. Hong Kong-based companies made up the largest group, accounting for 20 out of the 48 companies which had been affected by the global downturn, Youth Daily reported. The paper was quoting Gu Jiadong , president of Shanghai Human Resources Consulting Association, who was releasing the results of a survey of 7,000 overseas businesses at a forum on Thursday. It said 13 of the firms affected had closed down completely, five had been bought out and the remaining 30 had cut back on staff. The total number of those made redundant was 2,218, 84 of which were at bankrupt companies. However, when contacted by the South China Morning Post yesterday, Mr Gu refused to confirm the figures, saying he had been speaking at an 'internal forum'. 'There has been no large-scale reduction of staff in Shanghai,' said Mr Gu, also general manager of Shanghai Foreign Service Company. A spokesman for the association said the survey had polled 7,000 out of the roughly 11,000 foreign-owned businesses in the city. The spokesman admitted the economic outlook was a cause for concern and said the association would closely monitor it over the next six months. Youth Daily quoted the members of the association as saying that the number of overseas businesses in Shanghai had increased by 7.8 per cent this year but that the figure was expected to shrink by 1.3 per cent in the first half of next year. During the latter half of the year, however, the number was predicted to bounce back by 5.6 per cent. After Hong Kong businesses, the largest number of the 48 firms affected were from the United States, with 12, followed by Europe, with seven, the paper said.