Date
21 October 2018
Terence Chiu, the head of Commercial Banking at HSBC, said some firms are concerned about the actual returns on their investment in technology. Photo: EJ Insight
Terence Chiu, the head of Commercial Banking at HSBC, said some firms are concerned about the actual returns on their investment in technology. Photo: EJ Insight

HK firms still reluctant to adopt digital technology: HSBC study

Adoption of digital technology remains weak among Hong Kong firms, although awareness of its benefits is growing, an HSBC research finds.

According to the survey, 74 percent of local companies know digital technology is good for them, up from 69 percent in 2016, but only 28 percent of the firms have adopted it or plans to do so, slightly up from 26 percent two years ago.

The study was based on interviews with some 300 retailing, trading, and services companies, mainly small and medium-scale companies, on their views about digitalization for business use.

Among the industries, 38 percent of respondents from the retail sector have plans to adopt digital technology, up from 23 percent in 2016.

The rapid development of e-commerce here and abroad is believed to be the main factor behind the wider acceptance of digital technology among the firms.

However, there are a number of reasons that keep firms from jumping on the bandwagon.

More than half of the respondents lack understanding about new technologies such as big data, open API, Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, or chatbots, the study shows.

Although more companies are familiar with digital technology than in 2016, “there’s still room for improvement”, said Terence Chiu Man-chung, the head of Commercial Banking at HSBC.

Some respondents expressed the need for a stronger innovation culture and an easier way to understand the technology, Chiu said.

There are also concerns about the actual returns on investment.

Meanwhile, some still have the outdated mindset that sees new technologies as a source of risk.

The study finds that business leaders below 40 are more willing to embrace technology in their business.

“The society will keep moving forward, if the companies are not adapting, they will surely fall behind,” Chiu said.

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