Digitalisation important to Hong Kong SMEs but funding is challenge

Photo by Markus Spiske

DBS Hong Kong’s new survey with the city’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs) reveals 93% of the community believes digitalisation is important to business growth; however, 57% of those surveyed see funding as their biggest challenge when trying to digitalise their businesses. The survey provides insights into the needs of SMEs on their journey towards digitalisation.

The survey interviewed 105 respondents from the SME community in Hong Kong between March and June 2023 to understand the community’s attitudes and priorities towards digital transformation, as part of the follow-up initiative after DBS BusinessClass ‘Reborn Exhibition – We are Back: Digital Transformation of SMEs’ (“Reborn Exhibition”), Hong Kong’s first digital art exhibition led by SMEs held in March.

Amongst all respondents of the survey, while funding emerges as the top challenge in digitalisation (57%), limited resources (46%) and relevant technical expertise / skillset (43%) are also identified as the primary reasons contributing to the digital gap.

To step forward in their digitalisation journey, 65% of the SME community responded that they are planning to increase their investments in digitalisation by more than 25% this year compared to 2022.

Digital marketing and online channels ranked top priorities in digitalisation

With digitalisation and innovation continuing to re-define how people live and businesses are done, the respondents identified digital marketing (46%), establishing online presence / e-Commerce / mobile applications (41%) and developing data analysis and management (37%) as their top business priorities in the next five years.

Jolynn Wong, Head of Business Banking at DBS Bank (Hong Kong) Limited, commented, “As Hong Kong returns to normalcy, we have witnessed positive business momentum in the SME community, with business account openings increasing by over 80% year-to-date as of May 2023 in Hong Kong, compared to the same period last year. “