Catherine Zhu is the managing partner of Egon Zehnder in Hong Kong.
Digital transformation: Hong Kong are you ready?
Digital is fast transforming the way we interact, shop, work and experience the world. And it is disrupting business – unleashing huge growth and value for some companies and industries, and threatening others with extinction.
Can Hong Kong embrace digital to accelerate our economy, transform our companies and create new opportunities for our people, or will we stay in old economic models as other countries race ahead?
With an eye on both well-established companies and start-ups, it’s clear that Hong Kong’s digital economy has not yet reached critical mass. Michael Yao, CEO of 58.com, reminded us of this hard truth when he spoke at Hong Kong’s inaugural Internet Economy Summit in April. He said that a similar event in Beijing or Shanghai would have been much better attended, and he challenged us to raise our game.
Consider financial services and hospitality: both are key sectors of our economy, both face disruption from online competitors, and both can harness digital to engage customers and create value in new ways.
In hospitality, online travel booking sites threaten to capture the primary customer relationship from hotel groups. Hotels must respond by strengthening their digital platforms – to inspire customers from the moment they think of travelling, and to win their long-term loyalty. That matters for Hong Kong. As digital-savvy mainland tourists explore the world, we must make sure we remain a top-of-mind destination for the huge market at our doorstep.
The challenge is also profound for Hongkongers, many of whom are trying to reinvent themselves for careers in a digital world. Whether you start a new business or lead the digital transformation of a traditional company, that reinvention is as much about mindsets as it is about skills.
There are some great local businesses that inspire optimism: for example, Cherrypicks is recognised as a global leader in mobile innovation.
Cultivate your curiosity, imagine new ways to engage customers, and be ready to motivate change in your team, your organisation – and your city.
This article appeared in the Classified Post print edition as Get more digital.