A majority of Greater China companies (72%) see AI changing the market landscape for the next five years.
The report continues to confirm other studies in how COVID-19 strengthened the role of AI in business and operations, especially in managing disruptions.
Part of the reason for this acceleration lies with the Hong Kong consumers. Often seen as more traditional-minded than their peers in China became more accepting of online retail shops post-pandemic.
“COVID-19 has shifted the retail culture from brick-and-mortar to digital-to-door, and has completely reshaped business and consumer perceptions and experience toward online shopping,” said Eric Chia, EY Greater China consulting markets leader.
This mindset shift now impacts more than the retail industry. With the resulting acceleration of digital transformation, Hong Kong companies are now exploring AI to better predict business development trends and improve potential business results.
“Since the COVID-19 outbreak, we have seen Hong Kong businesses across industries accelerate their digital transformation to become more agile. These are turbulent times, but our customers have already been integrating AI into their businesses. To be successful in this AI era, businesses must make AI a core part of their strategy and develop a learning culture. Only with the right tools, digital skills, and mindset can Hong Kong businesses unlock the full potential of AI to drive innovation and ensure further growth. Microsoft is committed to empowering Hong Kong businesses on this journey,” said Cally Chan, general manager of Microsoft Hong Kong and Macau.
Operational efficiency is where 90% of Hong Kong companies believe AI will make the most significant impact. The study also noted that companies may increase investment in emerging technologies such as cloud, AI, and IoT to promote digital transformation. This will, in turn, drive IT spending growth after 2020.
AI has also become a new target of investment in Hong Kong. Between 2009 and 2019, over USD 465 million was invested in Hong Kong AI companies.
“We are seeing more AI unicorns and major Internet companies listing in Hong Kong. There is a high chance AI can become the second most competitive advantage of Hong Kong after financial services,” Chia explained.
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