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Monday, September 26, 2016, 21:45

HK firms ‘not tech savvy enough’ due to lack of expertise

By Oswald Chan
HK firms ‘not tech savvy enough’ due to lack of expertise
Hong Kong’s Central business district is the seat of many elite local and global enterprises operating in the city. Experts believe that companies that have embraced digital technology will be in a better position to grasp growth opportunities. (Parker Zheng / China Daily)

Hong Kong companies are lagging behind in crafting a digital business strategy although many of them know the benefits of applying digital technology in their business, an HSBC survey shows.

HSBC Commercial Banking commissioned global business analysis firm Kanter TNS in June and July to conduct telephone interviews with senior representatives of 301 small and medium-sized enterprises and big corporations in the SAR, covering the retail, trading, manufacturing and services industries.

The survey reveals that 74 percent of the enterprises polled do not have plans to adopt digital technology in their operations although 69 percent of them understand the advantages of developing digital technology, illustrating a huge gap between action and perception.

The findings also show there is a significant gap in digital sophistication between personal and business use.

Firstly, personal digital usage has not translated into extensive business application. While about 53 percent of the respondents are technology savvy in their personal lives, only 26 percent of them are technology savvy in business.

At the same time, 66 percent of people’s personal online time is spent on using smartphones or tablets, but only 37 percent of their online time at work is spent on smartphones or tablets.

The poll also shows that all the respondents use social media, but only 38 percent of the interviewees own social media accounts for business development.

A lack of knowledge and expertise, as well as a sense of urgency to adopt business-related technology, are common barriers among businesses in Hong Kong, the report shows.

“Business owners should take a step forward in translating their personal usage of technology into making business applications. Companies that have embraced digital technology will be in a better position to grasp growth opportunities in the future,” said Albert Chan Leung-choi, HSBC’s head of commercial banking.

He said HSBC Commercial Banking will roll out personal messaging services for its commercial banking clients through WeChat — the most popular social network platform on the Chinese mainland. The bank is also contemplating applying biometric technology for client identification, as well as launching block chain technology, to maintain safety and transparency of file documents involving its trade finance clients.

“Financial technology is the whole business process that involves our clients in the segments of personal banking, commercial banking and global business,” Chan reckoned.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) — the city’s de facto central bank — said earlier this month it will collaborate with the Applied Science and Technology Research Institute to set up the Fintech Innovation Hub to enable market players of the banking and payment industry to conduct trials of products and services in a controlled environment from their internal systems.

The HKMA will also launch the fintech supervisory sandbox to allow banks to conduct testing and trial of newly developed technologies and applications on a pilot basis.
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