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Execs doubt HK's ability to support their digital ambitions

Execs doubt HK's ability to support their digital ambitionsHong Kong ranks just 37th on a list of 45 major cities worldwide in terms of overall business confidence in their city's environment and its conduciveness to supporting their digital ambitions.

The Digital Cities Barometer, compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit under commission from Telstra, shows that Hong Kong companies are losing confidence in their city's ability to support their digital transformation goals.

Notably, Hong Kong performed well in the Asian Digital Transformation Index study Telstra commissioned from the EIU last year, which ranked cities by objective measures across digital infrastructure, human capital and industry connectedness.

“Whilst last year found Hong Kong’s digital transformation readiness to be good, this year’s results show there is some doubt amongst senior executives when it comes to Hong Kong’s ability to support the digital ambitions of business,” Telstra MD for North Asia Darrin Webb said.

“Hong Kong is a global financial hub with a burgeoning start-up ecosystem and there is a real opportunity for it to become a leading technology and innovation center. What is needed for the city to achieve this potential is for an aligned commitment across business, government and communities to address the divide between reality and perception and show that Hong Kong is taking tangible steps towards this goal and fulfilling its true potential.”

Hong Kong fares lowest in terms of innovation and entrepreneurship, ranking just 43rd out of the 45 cities.

Hong Kong also ranks 40th in terms of ICT infrastructure, 38th in terms of development of new technologies and 37th in terms of the supply of people and skills. The city's highest measure involved the financial environment, with a rank of 31st.

The research also found that Hong Kong executives rank skills shortages and limited funding as the equal toughest challenges for their business transformation (36%). The most in demand skills include digital security (31%) and business networking skills (27%).

"There is more demand for digital security skill in Hong Kong than other cities around the world," said Charles Ross, Asia editorial director, thought leadership division at EIU. "Employees should have more training about digital security skill. This skill should also be embedded into education curriculum in schools and universities."

59% of Hong Kong respondents believe the city's educational institutions are ‘generally effective’ or ‘very effective’ in preparing people with the right digital skills.