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Asian firms lead world in pursuing tech, sustainability

Jun 26. 2019
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By The Nation

Businesses across Asia increasingly believe the strongest opportunities for future growth lie in technology, sustainability and developing talent to harness digital advancement, according to a new global survey by HSBC .




While more than a third of Asian businesses are prioritising expansion into new markets, even more are turning their attention to improving productivity and new technologies, the survey found.

These are key findings from “Navigator: Made for the Future”, a survey of more than 2,500 companies in 14 markets globally – including over 1,300 firms in Asia.

Forty-three per cent of companies in Asia are citing innovation as fundamental to future success, compared to 42 per cent in Europe and 29 per cent in North America.

The majority of markets in Asia cited innovation as their top investment priority, focusing on people and platforms, both largely in line with global findings.

Stuart Tait of HSBC believes Asian businesses are more buoyant about their future prospects than the rest of the world given the economic vibrancy of the region. 

“With rising urbanisation, a growing middle class and upbeat intra-Asia investment and trade activity, businesses are seeing more opportunities than threats on the horizon,” said Tait.

He also believes companies in Asia are staying agile in response to their fast-evolving customer base.

“Asian businesses are attuned to disruption, and recognise that productivity and new technologies are critical to prosperity and longevity.”

According to the research, 44 per cent of Asian businesses expect to grow by three to five per cent over the next two years, making them more bullish than their European and North American peers. 

To help drive this growth, companies in Asia are honing in on environmentally and socially responsible opportunities.

According to Tait, the strategy for Asian businesses is not hinged on growing at all costs. “To be ‘Made for the Future’, businesses are doubling down on sustainability, with half of companies planning to increase their sustainability investments.”

The findings also reveal contrasts among Asian businesses’ appetite for sustainability compared to companies in Europe (39 per cent) and North America (45 per cent).

Of the Asian markets surveyed, businesses in India (59 per cent), Indonesia (57) and mainland China (60) are leading the pack.

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