GSMA SMART CITY AND IOT ERA SUMMIT, HONG KONG: A Google survey found Hong Kong businesses have been slow to adopt digital technology, and those that are investing in digital projects are generally focused on the low hanging fruit and not on new capabilities such as data analytics.
Leonie Valentine, Google Hong Kong’s MD of sales and operations (pictured), said the territory’s reliance on the financial and real estate industries positions the city as a data and transactions centre rather than a hub of innovation. This is demonstrated by the slow adoption of digital technologies in professional settings, with 95 per cent of busineses saying they see digital as key to their success, but only about half embracing it in some form.
The survey showed 51 per cent of companies are planning additional digital projects, but only 28 per cent are “significantly” planning to spend on digital efforts over the next two years.
Increasingly Hong Kong companies are being impacted by innovative companies across the border exporting their services and forcing businesses in the territory to catch up.
Google’s research found that investments made by the companies which are managing digital projects are primarily focused on “obvious” digital activities such as marketing and digital content development, e-commerce and customer relationship management. Fewer companies are making investments in newer and more relevant technologies including big data and analytics, machine learning, and other digital initiatives that are crucial to personalising consumer relationships and driving digital utilisation, Valentine said.
According to Google’s Smarter Digital City white paper, compared with cities around the world, Hong Kong has only just started its digital transformation. It ranks 4th out of 11 digitally transformed Asian markets. Consumers, however, ranked Hong Kong third in the study’s smart city ranking, behind only Tokyo and Singapore.
On a personal level, the survey found 81 per cent of people in the territory think they are digital, but when asked about their actual behaviour, only 42 per cent turned out to be truly digitally savvy.
Valentine said while most people think they are digitally savvy, in truth the digital transformation is still in its early stages. “They are much less ‘engaged’ than they believe themselves to be.”
The data indicates that just 20 per cent of all consumers are “highly satisfied” with their digital experiences.
Hong Kong’s uptake of mobile payments and banking clearly indicated its position as a laggard in the region. Just over half of people said they use contactless payments and mobile banking and just 33 per cent use P2P mobile funds transfer. But tellingly, a third of people in Hong Kong said they don’t know what P2P payments are, while in mainland nearly everyone is aware of the transfer tool, she said.
The report was based on a survey of about 100 businesses and 1,000 consumers in Hong Kong.