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HSBC study: Three things Asian businesses prioritise for future growth

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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.

Navigator: Made for the Future” surveyed more than 2500 companies across 14 markets globally – including over 1300 firms from seven major economies in the Asia-Pacific region.


According to the survey, technology is driving a structural shift in the future workforce in Asia. Companies have a dual-objective for technology: Driving customer-centricity and upskilling their people.

Reflecting on customer-centricity, more than three in four Asian businesses (78%) believe the integration of new technologies will help their people better understand customer needs.

Digital transformation is also impacting the skills people need to compete in the future.

In Asia, companies are investing in digital marketing skills (21%), sustainable business practices (17%) and systems-design thinking (18%), which is in line with peers in Europe and North America.

“A business is only as strong as its people. As technology evolves, the time is now for organisations to equip their people with technology-led training so they can advance in lockstep,” said Stuart Tait, regional head of commercial banking, Asia-Pacific, HSBC.

“Businesses are putting their people at the heart of what they do. It’s clear Asian companies see upskilling and technology as the key to ‘future proofing’ their business, strategy and people.”


A total of 43% of companies in Asia are citing innovation as fundamental to future success, compared to companies in Europe (42%) and North America (29%).

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

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

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


A total of 44% of Asian businesses expect to grow by three to five percent over the next two years, making them more bullish than their European (32%) and North American (30%) counterparts. To help drive this growth, companies in Asia are honing in on environmentally and socially responsible opportunities.

The findings also reveal a contrast among Asian businesses’ appetite for sustainability compared to companies in Europe (39%) and North America (45%). Of the Asian markets surveyed, businesses in India (59%), Indonesia (57%) and mainland China (60%) are leading the pack.

“To be ‘Made for the Future’, businesses are doubling down on sustainability, with 50% of companies planning to increase their sustainability investments,” Tait said.

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