HONG KONG SAR - Media OutReach - 2 September 2021 - Sixty-one per cent of surveyed accounting and finance professionals predict the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) will become a world-leading technology hub within five years, according to one of the world's largest professional accounting bodies, CPA Australia.
With CPA Australia's GBA Business Technology Report 2021 finding that 90 per cent of GBA businesses had undertaken at least one technology-related project in the past 12 months, it's easy to see why most believe that the GBA will become a global technology hub in the near future. The report also reveals that fast-growing technology adoption by GBA businesses has led to a soaring demand for talent.
CPA Australia surveyed 258 accounting and finance professionals in a variety of industries in Hong Kong, Macao and the nine GBA mainland cities. Respondents were most likely to choose FinTech (44 per cent) as the technology that will improve collaboration within the GBA. Respondents are most likely to consider this technology will create more business opportunities and enhance the GBA as a global financial centre.
Mr Eden Wong, Deputy President of CPA Australia in Greater China said, "Further financial integration is likely to provide a boost to the development of the GBA as a global financial centre. Technologies may facilitate capital flow between GBA cities and encourage robust business activities.
"Take the GBA Wealth Management Connect Scheme as an example, the adoption of FinTech and other technologies will be indispensable in expanding the channels for residents in different parts of the GBA to invest in cross-boundary financial products. It will also enable banks under different regulatory regimes to open accounts for investors remotely, carry out suitability assessment processes for non-professional investors, and complete sales and transaction processes in a more efficient manner."
According to the survey, 89 per cent of respondents expect their business to increase investment in or use of technology in the next 12 months. However, future technology preferences vary between Hong Kong and Macao and mainland GBA cities. Among respondents from the mainland GBA cities, data analytics and visualisation software was the top technology respondents expect to increase investment in or use of (45 per cent). Video conferencing and group collaboration tools were preferred by 39 per cent of Hong Kong and Macao respondents.
Dr Paul Sin, member of CPA Australia GBA Committee said, "Travel restrictions are likely to remain in place for the foreseeable future. As a result, the demand for remote collaboration tools will remain strong.
"As open and externally oriented economies, Hong Kong and Macao respondents prioritise these types of tools to enable them to collaborate and interact with non-local clients, stakeholders and employees. On the other hand, as businesses in mainland China have access to a greater pool of data, they are more likely to use data-relevant technologies such as data analytics, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Business Intelligence (BI) to improve their business performance and meet customer needs.
"Smaller and larger companies also have different technology plans. SMEs are more focused on tools that will enhance productivity such as cloud technology and video conferencing and group collaboration tools. Meanwhile larger companies with more data assets are more likely to increase their use of or investment in data-driven technologies to improve customer satisfaction and drive growth, such as data analytics and visualisation software, and AI.
"To encourage collaboration between companies and technology vendors in the GBA, the governments of the GBA could consider establishing a cross-border networking platform to connect companies with technology vendors."
Although 68 per cent of respondents in the GBA believe that the current workforce in the GBA possesses moderate to high levels of technological skills, over one-third of respondents indicated that a shortage of talent is a major challenge to business technology adoption.
Dr Albert Wong, member of CPA Australia's GBA Committee said, "The survey findings reflect that there is a link between business performance and the technology-relevant actions businesses undertook. High-growth companies were more likely to have developed a long-term technology or digital strategy, partnered with technology companies to improve the business, or have invested in human resources such as recruiting technology talent or upskilling or reskilling the technology capabilities of staff. In addition, these companies are more likely to adopt an ecosystem approach to developing their technological capabilities.
"Talent supply and data assets are conducive to creating a sustainable ecosystem to nurture more technology companies in the GBA and to support the digital strategies of non-tech businesses. We suggest that GBA governments consider introducing more resources and policies to attract and retain tech-savvy talent or to upskill or reskill the current workforce with the relevant technology skills.
"In addition, clear guidance on data usage and cross-boundary data flow should be established to facilitate data sharing in the GBA. A clear data policy will lead to greater adoption of data-driven technologies in businesses. A pilot may be considered for facilitating the formulation of an appropriate cross-boundary data management mechanism and the demonstration of its working."