Hong Kong is a strategically-placed digital leader of tomorrow. Having a strong internet infrastructure and a diverse talent pool, this is somewhat underutilized by many business owners who are running their business from there. In fact, only 34% of them have a website and merely 8% of them are receiving online orders. The government is helping in any way possible by incentivizing digital growth, but still, there’s plenty of room for improvement.
A brief glance at the numbers
In the last year or so, researching digital technologies has experienced an upswing (to 67%, up from 48% in 2017). The corporate sector anticipates their organizations will rapidly embrace technology (73% of respondents). This year alone, we’ve seen a massive increase in digital investment (85% of corporate entities), and pretty much no matter who you ask, the upcoming years look even more promising in this regard. Up to this point, massive improvement has been seen in the following areas:
– Machine learning and AI
– App development
– Big data/data analytics
– Augmented reality / virtual reality
– Cloud computing
– Digital marketing and advertising
– Digital content creation and storytelling
– Cashless payment technology
SMBs should focus on transitioning toward a digital world
SMBs (small and medium-sized businesses) need to keep in mind that digitization is a key part of their overall growth strategy. Despite the benefits it brings, surprisingly, only about half of them believe this to play a fundamental role in their growth and development. Thus far, the SMBs of Hong Kong have mostly been focused on systems automation as it’s an effective way to reduce costs. The industrial regions of Guangzhou and Shenzen are investing in big data and cashless payment technology, and a lot of effort goes toward finding new leads and providing a better customer experience.
Notable improvements can be spotted in the travel industry as well
In the last couple of years, there have been notable improvements in the travel industry as well, most of which can be attributed to smartphones. It’s no secret that the vast majority of consumers are searching for information prior to starting their travels, and about two-thirds of them do so by using a smartphone. The air travel industry is heavily focused on improving the travel experience and shorten travel times. As we can observe from the example of Hong Kong International Airport, facial biometrics and smart luggage scanning are all huge steps in the right direction. As a direct result of implementing these measures, the check-ins are now much faster and the queues notably shorter.
Personal banking is going digital
The personal banking sector is rapidly encouraging the users to adopt digitization. The current stats are showing that more than half of Hong Kong’s residents are using their smartphones to make payments. A bit less than half of them have already made a P2P money transfer through one, which is more than the previous year. HSBC bank has developed the PayMe app; today, it has more than one million users. Being both convenient and popular, it’s also a great way for financial institutions to track and collect user data they can use for the purpose of determining what their users prefer and what’s trending. In essence, doing so allows these institutions to better serve these customers in the future. Although, some Hong Kong residents are slightly concerned about the privacy issues the mentioned trade-off may cause and started using online privacy applications such as VPNs. But, all in all, users are in favor of online engagement, although there are still some who prefer to do things offline. Granted, there are a couple advantages to the latter, including in-person consultation as well as having a contact to follow up with.
The retail sector is no exception when it comes to digitization
Online shopping is gaining traction; due to conveniently giving you the option to make price comparisons and the ability to order from the comfort of your chair, it’s easy to see why. Hong Kong is known for its online to offline (O2O) commerce and it’s in full swing. Interestingly enough, despite preferring to buy their items online through an app or a website, users would rather pick them up from the store themselves and not have them delivered to them. In essence, “click and collect” is the name of the game. On the other hand, Hong Kong has a rather poor product variety when it comes to the e-commerce sector.
What does the future have in store for Hong Kong?
To truly maximize Hong Kong’s potential, multiple stakeholders will have to participate; SMBs, the corporate sector, and the general public. Residents aged between 55 and 64 are most digitally-engaged, and it goes to show that digitization truly plays a notable part in improving the overall quality of people’s lives. Since almost everyone now carries around a smartphone in their back pocket, convenience, when it comes to making payments online, is pretty much a given.