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Hong Kong’s Strategy to Preserve Its Global Financial Hub Status Might Involve AI

Last Updated March 21, 2024 5:56 PM
Shraddha Sharma
Last Updated March 21, 2024 5:56 PM

Key Takeaways

  • Hong Kong’s SMEs are gearing up for a tech-driven future.
  • There’s a collective call for innovation to safeguard Hong Kong’s status as a global financial hub.
  • AI may be a key driver in maintaining Hong Kong’s financial status.

With technology reshaping the future and Asia at the center of it, Hong Kong is facing mounting pressure. The region is striving to maintain its prestigious status as a global financial hub amid both economic challenges and tech advancements. Artificial Intelligence (AI) might emerge as the key sector that could help Hong Kong do that.

Call to Action from Businesses

Victor Li, a Hong Kong business tycoon and chairman of CK Hutchison and CK Asset, said  that the region has to safeguard its position as an international financial hub.

The statement comes against the backdrop of declining profits in his conglomerates — 9% for CK Hutchison and 11.6% for CK Asset.

He highlights the city’s resilience through recent political unrest and the pandemic. He was quoted by SCMP in a press conference, where he said, “How to respond depends on the Hong Kong government. There are only a few, and Hong Kong has been one of them for many years. It is hard-won. We must not lose this place.”

AI to Play a Role

Aligning with Li’s call for innovation, the HSBC Digital Horizons  report notes the readiness and ambition of Hong Kong’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The survey by HSBC Hong Kong finds optimism among SMEs about emerging technologies within the next decade.

Notably, a substantial portion of these businesses anticipates that technologies like blockchain, machine learning, and robotics will significantly contribute to their growth.

However, there are hurdles. The survey finds a notable gap in the familiarity and implementation of generative AI. As per the report, only a third of SMEs are equipped with its know-how.  

Despite this, an overwhelming majority believe in the transformative opportunities AI can offer.

Therefore, there appears to be a crucial area of focus for Hong Kong’s tech-driven strategy: boosting understanding and accessibility of AI and other technologies to unlock their full potential.

As many SMEs feel prepared for the technological shift, there are limitations when it comes to skills. As mentioned in the report, many businesses in Hong Kong will have to evolve their workforce to match the tech-savvy era.

Christina Ong, Managing Director, Head of Business Banking, Commercial Banking of HSBC Hong Kong, said, “Emerging technologies are leveling the playing field for SMEs by democratising access to tools and capabilities previously exclusive to larger businesses. But the key to unlocking these benefits is recognising and understanding what technology can do, and how it can be integrated effectively into SMEs’ strategies and operations.”

Furthermore, the report emphasizes the critical role of collaboration — both within organizations and through international partnerships — in leveraging technology.

Preserving Hong Kong’s Status

Hong Kong has the ambition to strengthen its status as a global financial hub. With businesses embracing AI and emerging technology, the leap can happen with tech.

However, due to the limitations of skill and cost, a concerted effort might have to come from both the government and the private sector. Especially when the industry players want the government to step in.  

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