Digitalization Matters: 93% of Hong Kong SMEs Get It, But 57% Struggle with Funding!

93% of Hong Kong SMEs Get It, But 57% Struggle with Funding

Hong Kong SMEs are embracing the magic of digitalization, but funding hocus-pocus haunts their transformation!

A recent survey by DBS Hong Kong has revealed valuable insights into the perspectives of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the city. The survey revealed that an overwhelming majority of SMEs, 93% to be precise, consider digitalization essential for their business growth. However, funding emerged as a major challenge for 57% of the surveyed SMEs when it came to implementing digitalization initiatives. 

The survey, which took place between March and June 2023, involved interviews with 105 SMEs in Hong Kong. Its primary objective was to gain a deeper understanding of their attitudes and priorities regarding digital transformation, following the DBS BusinessClass “Reborn Exhibition”. Held in March, this exhibition showcased the impressive digital transformation efforts undertaken by various SMEs.

Funding is vital to fuel digitalization

According to the survey, funding was found to be the primary hurdle to digitalization, as highlighted by 57% of the respondents. In addition, limited resources (46%) and a lack of technical expertise (43%) were also significant factors contributing to the digital divide. To drive ‌digital transformation, 65% of SMEs expressed their intention to increase digitalization investments by over 25% this year compared to 2022.

Looking ahead, the survey participants outlined their top priorities for the next five years, with a strong focus on digital marketing (46%), establishing an online presence through e-commerce and mobile applications (41%) and enhancing data analysis and management capabilities (37%). These areas were identified as crucial elements for SMEs’ journey toward success in the rapidly evolving digital landscape.

DBS’s support for SMEs in Hong Kong

The Managing Director and Head of Institutional Banking Group at DBS Bank (Hong Kong) Limited, Wallace Lam, emphasized DBS’s commitment to supporting SMEs in their digital transformation. With a strong Asian network and digital capabilities, DBS offers a comprehensive suite of digital banking solutions tailored to SMEs’ evolving needs. These include the DBS Online Business Account Opening service, the IDEAL online banking platform and flexible digital financing options. Additionally, DBS’s BusinessClass platform provides networking opportunities for its 250,000 members across Asia. DBS aims to empower SMEs and lay a solid foundation for their digital future.

The Head of Business Banking at DBS Bank (Hong Kong) Limited, Jolynn Wong, acknowledges the remarkable growth experienced by the SME community in Hong Kong as the city returns to normalcy. As of May 2023, business account openings had soared by over 80% year-to-date in Hong Kong. To support this growth, Wong informed, “We will continue to enhance our digital solutions and banking services as SMEs revitalize, enabling them to conduct business more efficiently, effortlessly and intelligently.”

In summary, DBS’s survey findings underscore the critical role of digitalization for Hong Kong SMEs, with funding identified as a significant challenge. As DBS continues to support their digital transformation efforts, SMEs are poised to thrive in the evolving business landscape through enhanced digital capabilities.

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Header image courtesy of Freepik

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