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In a year that has been defined by trade turbulence between the US and China and five months of crippling civil unrest in Hong Kong, local businesses are adopting an international mindset to mitigate the impact of a shaky trade outlook and economic headwinds by expanding into fresh markets.
According to a just-released survey by HSBC, Navigator: Now, next and how for business, 34% of Hong Kong businesses intend to overcome market challenges by expanding into new markets. Of the Hong Kong businesses anticipating sales growth next year, 44% cite entry to new markets as a key driver.
Other cited growth strategies included: Improving the quality of products or services (30%), investing in innovation (24%), investing in customer experience (24%) and tightening cash flow management (22%).
The comprehensive survey quizzed business leaders from over 9000 companies across 35 markets globally – including 350 Hong Kong businesses – to gauge business sentiment and growth prospects.
Hong Kong businesses also consider international trade as a key ingredient of robust growth that will drive innovation (79%), provide new opportunities (77%) and improve efficiency (76%) over the next five years.
“As an international business hub, Hong Kong has been championing trade liberalisation. Our research reveals that Hong Kong businesses see international trade as an opportunity to navigate challenging economic dynamics,” said Terence Chiu, head of commercial banking at Hong Kong, HSBC.
He referred to the Hong Kong and Australia Free Trade Agreement and Investment Agreement inked in March this year as the latest example.
“We believe Hong Kong businesses will continue to benefit from the city’s strategic location when looking for new market expansion opportunities, be it in goods or services trade,” added Chiu.