DBS Hong Kong Survey Reveals Funding Challenges Faced by SMEs in Digitalisation

2 mins read

29 June 2023

DBS Hong Kong’s survey reveals that 93% of SMEs recognize the importance of digitalization for business growth, but funding remains a major challenge for 57% of them.

In a recent survey conducted by DBS Hong Kong, it has been found that 93% of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the city consider digitalisation crucial for business growth. However, a staggering 57% of the surveyed SMEs cite funding as their primary hurdle when attempting to digitalise their operations. This survey sheds light on the needs and aspirations of SMEs on their path towards digital transformation.

The comprehensive survey, which took place between March and June 2023, interviewed 105 respondents from the SME community in Hong Kong. Its objective was to gauge the community’s attitudes and priorities regarding digital transformation. This initiative serves as a follow-up to DBS BusinessClass’ “Reborn Exhibition – We are Back: Digital Transformation of SMEs,” which featured Hong Kong’s first digital art exhibition led by SMEs in March.

The survey findings highlighted funding as a key factor in digitalisation, with 57% of respondents acknowledging it as their biggest challenge. Limited resources (46%) and a lack of relevant technical expertise or skillset (43%) were also identified as primary reasons contributing to the digital gap. To address these challenges, 65% of the SME community expressed plans to increase their investments in digitalisation by over 25% compared to the previous year.

As businesses adapt to the evolving landscape driven by digitalisation and innovation, the survey respondents identified digital marketing (46%), establishing an online presence through e-commerce and mobile applications (41%), and developing data analysis and management (37%) as their top business priorities for the next five years.

Wallace Lam, the Managing Director and Head of Institutional Banking Group at DBS Bank (Hong Kong) Limited, expressed the bank’s commitment to supporting SMEs in their digital transformation journey. Lam highlighted DBS’s strong Asian network and digital capabilities, emphasizing their full suite of digital banking solutions and flexible digital financing options. DBS’s BusinessClass platform, which provides networking opportunities to its 250,000 members across Asia, also plays a crucial role in facilitating SMEs’ digital aspirations.

Jolynn Wong, Head of Business Banking at DBS Bank (Hong Kong) Limited, acknowledged the positive business momentum witnessed in the SME community as Hong Kong returns to normalcy. She noted an increase of over 80% in business account openings year-to-date as of May 2023 compared to the same period last year. Wong assured SMEs that DBS would continue enhancing its digital solutions and banking services to enable them to conduct business more efficiently, effortlessly, and intelligently.

In a notable development, Mil Mill, an SME voted as the top participant in the DBS BusinessClass Reborn Exhibition, will receive substantial support from DBS Hong Kong. As the winner chosen by the public with over 4,700 votes, Mil Mill is entitled to a total prize worth over HKD $380,000. The support package from DBS includes business account opening and transaction fee waivers, as well as marketing promotions by 100 key opinion leaders (KOLs). This support aims to assist Mil Mill, Hong Kong’s first paper pulp mill operated by Secure Information Disposal Services, in embarking on a transformative digital journey. It is worth mentioning that Secure Information Disposal Services was an awardee of DBS Foundation’s grant programme in 2022.

DBS Hong Kong remains committed to aiding SMEs in their growth and addressing their pressing needs in digitalisation, particularly in the realm of digital marketing. The survey results underscore the bank’s dedication to supporting SMEs in their digital transformation endeavors, enabling them to thrive in the digital future.

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