The London-based Standard Chartered Bank expects to expand its outlets in the Chinese mainland to 100 from the current 83 by the end of 2012, lender\'s chief executive officer Peter Sands said here on Friday, adding that the group will continue to be \"investing significantly\" in the Chinese market. Sands told a press meeting that Standard Chartered will continue to grow headcount in China this year as it is seeking to open more branches and sub-branches across the country. \"It\'s quite likely we would hit 100 (outlets) this year,\" he said, adding that the plan still depends on the precise timing of licenses or finding the right properties. \"We would just continue to build out our network across China.\" The bank hired about 2,000 more people globally in 2011 to around 87,000 with China topping the headcount growth among all the countries, according to Sands. Commenting on China\'s lowering its economic growth to 7.5 percent this year, Sands said that the reduction is in everybody\'s interests as it indicates China is heading to a more \"sustainable and balanced pace of growth\". He said the slower target would change the composition of China\'s economic growth to some extent, but also generate enormous opportunities to leverage and enable the increasing degree of economic conversion within China. \"We will continue to be investing significantly both in the mainland and Hong Kong. We remain very excited by the opportunities in greater China,\" he said. In addition, Sands said that Standard Chartered will play a leading role in the use of the renminbi in London and in supporting the authorities from both Hong Kong and London in terms of preparations on thinking about London\'s role as an offshore renminbi center. He said having London join Hong Kong as an offshore renminbi center is \"a very logical next step\" in the development of the internalization of the renminbi. He expects London to play a complementary role naturally given that it can serve the investors in a different time zone and provide help to those who are not able to access renminbi business through Hong Kong.