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Hong Kong Businesses Split on Covid-19 Wave Outcomes


Hong Kong covid
Customers wearing face masks queue up to pay at a supermarket in Hong Kong. Photo: Reuters

 

Only a slim majority of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Hong Kong are confident they will overcome the city’s fifth wave of the pandemic, according to a survey.

The poll showed 55% of respondents to the March poll were confident that their business or employer will overcome the fifth wave, with 57% expecting revenue will largely remain the same as normal or grow in the next three months.

It found that 42% of respondents believe that the relaxation of social distancing restrictions expected from April 22 will have the most positive impact on their SME in the next three months, followed by the Hong Kong government’s Employment Support Scheme (18%) and the HK$5,000 ($640) Consumption Voucher Scheme (12%) given to all residents.

CPA Australia conducted a poll of SMEs in mid-March on their current and expected performance. This was a follow-up to a more in-depth survey of Asia-Pacific small businesses in November and December, which focused on the characteristics of high growth small businesses, business confidence and access to finance.

When asked which areas of their business were most negatively impacted by the fifth wave, 35% said business operations, while 26% said cash flow.

“We are aware that many small businesses are suffering during the fifth wave of Covid-19, but they are also demonstrating resilience and adaptability during this period,” said Janssen Chan, chair of CPA Australia’s China SME Committee.

“The pandemic is a major catalyst for transforming business models and consumer spending patterns,” he added.

Chan said to take advantage of expected improvements in conditions, small businesses may need to increase their investment in technology and innovation.

“In Hong Kong, more consumers are purchasing online and using digital payments,” he noted.

“With social distancing restrictions set to relax from mid-April and the roll-out of stimulus measures such as the e-consumption vouchers, small businesses should continue innovating, digitalising and updating their business plans.”

 

  • George Russell

 

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George Russell

George Russell is a freelance writer and editor based in Hong Kong who has lived in Asia since 1996. His work has been published in the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, New York Post, Variety, Forbes and the South China Morning Post.

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