February 28, 2024

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AI to propel Hong Kong’s economy

Speaking at the release of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council’s (HKTDC) forecast for Hong Kong’s export performance for 2020, HKTDC Assistant Principal Economist (Global Research) stated that the unprecedented and overwhelming nature of the COVID 19 outbreak can be a timely game-changer.

It will encourage a new phase of creativity and sustainability while preparing the global economy for a more resilient and robust post-COVID-19 future after a broad-based recovery.

Some businesses – including e-commerce marketplaces, pharmaceutical and healthcare companies, logistics solution providers, video-conferencing solution providers and entertainment streaming and online gaming platforms – are likely to thrive in this ‘new normal’.

He predicted the pandemic will accelerate automation and artificial intelligence (AI)-driven technology will become more mainstream as the global economy and industry reboots and tilts more towards digitalisation and automation.

Concurrently, business-model innovations that use big-data analytics, contactless solutions and new digital channels would help traditional commercial operations – such as restaurants, last-mile delivery services, public transportation – undergo digital transformation and survive the COVID-19 crisis.

The Assistant Principal Economist quoted Bain & Company research which anticipated that by the end of the 2020s automation of business processes may eliminate 20% to 25% of current jobs.

Over the next two years, Bain sees the share of companies scaling up automation technologies – ranging from low code automation, optical character recognition, robotic process automation to conversational AI – will at least double.

Export outlook declines

Uncertainties about the length and depth of the economic downturn brought by COVID-19 and the threat of trade protectionism led the HKTDC to revise its Hong Kong export growth forecast for 2020 down to a decline of 10%, from the previous prediction of a 2% fall.

The HKTDC Director of Research, at a press conference, stated that revision takes into account the latest HKTDC Export Index survey, which indicated that 82% of the 500 [respondent] exporters forecast their total sales will drop 10% year-on-year.

It was noted that the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic (64.6%), softening global demand (19.5%) and the trade tensions between Mainland China and the United States (10.8%) remained the biggest threats that may affect their export prospects.

Meanwhile, 97.5% of survey respondents – up 3.6 percentage points from the previous quarter – have experienced adverse shocks to their businesses because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

These include buyers purchasing less (57%) or cancelling orders (52.3%), delays in product deliveries (55.8%) and logistical disruptions (53.1%). In response to the pandemic, 67.6% of respondents had implemented remote-working arrangements, while more than 41% developed online sales channels to supplement conventional sales operations.

Index stabilises

The HKTDC Export Index rose a marginal 2.2 points to 18.2 in the second quarter of 2020.

“This may indicate that the negative sentiment is now plateauing, yet the reading is still well below the 50-point watershed, indicating that Hong Kong’s exports performance is not likely to improve dramatically in the short term,” HKTDC Assistant Principal Economist (Greater China) stated.

In addition, the Procurement Index fell by 4.3 points to a record low of 10.5, with all major industry sectors dropping further – jewellery (2.0), clothing (9.4), electronics (10.4), toys (11.3), machinery (14.8) and timepieces (17.3) – showing buyers will source less in the coming months.

Having said that, demand for electronics items related to computers, webcams, microphones and medical applications, wearable tech and smartwatches with health-monitoring functions, as well as comfortable, multi-purpose and athleisure wear are on the rise, while stylish fashion jewellery and design pieces and wedding items would also have a better chance.

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Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

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CTC Global Singapore, a premier end-to-end IT solutions provider, is a fully owned subsidiary of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation (CTC) and ITOCHU Corporation.

Since 1972, CTC has established itself as one of the country’s top IT solutions providers. With 50 years of experience, headed by an experienced management team and staffed by over 200 qualified IT professionals, we support organizations with integrated IT solutions expertise in Autonomous IT, Cyber Security, Digital Transformation, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

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Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

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SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

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HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

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IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.

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