The DBS SME Pulse Check Survey, conducted ahead of the coming 2023/24 Hong Kong Budget announcement, found that 58% of Hong Kong’s SMEs would like to receive more funding and financial support from the government, amid growing concerns about the state of the global economy.
According to the survey, 76% of Hong Kong SMEs believed that a global recession would take place in 2023. Over half of the respondents also expressed growing concerns and need for government funding and financial support (58%), followed by support on business matching and networking (30%) and brand development and promotion (18%).
In addition, respondents also cited inflation (44%), labour costs and availability (43%) and rising global interest rates (39%) as their top concerns.
Despite the concern of a global recession, Hong Kong SMEs largely expressed confidence in the outlook of their businesses in the coming 12 months with Hong Kong-mainland China border reopening. 75% of the respondents believed that this would bring a positive impact on their business revenues.
Hong Kong SMEs are also becoming bullish on the outlook of the Greater Bay Area (GBA), with 52% of them eager to accelerate expansion plans into the region in the coming 12 months.
Commenting on this, Jolynn Wong, Head of Business Banking, DBS Bank (Hong Kong) Limited, said, “With mainland China reopening its border, cross-border businesses between Hong Kong and mainland China starts to resume its normalcy. As the World’s best SME bank, we will continue to double down on the GBA and leverage on our expertise in the region to help Hong Kong SMEs expand their footprint in the GBA.”
The survey also reflected that 36% of the respondents had listed marketing and branding as the top business priority in 2023, along with e-commerce and market expansion sharing equal importance (25% respectively).
This might come as an expected sentiment as businesses continue to emerge from the pandemic and kickstart marketing and branding activities to help meet business goals and maintain brand visibility amid economic uncertainty.
Patrick Lau, Head of Enterprise Banking, DBS Bank (Hong Kong) Limited, said, “While a majority of SMEs surveyed believe there will be a global recession this year, they are determined to drive business growths amid uncertainty by considering and planning their business priorities carefully.”