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Executives 'modestly hopeful' over growth

Published on Friday, 08 Jun 2012
Melanie Cochrane

According to an American Express/CFO Global Business and Spending Monitor Forecast, senior finance executives worldwide - including Hong Kong - express moderate optimism on prospects for economic growth over the next 12 months.

Locally, 57 per cent of Hong Kong executives (compared with 64 per cent of all respondents) report expectations for "modest" or "substantial" expansion over the next year - lower than last year's 79 per cent.

"With the uncertainties in the global economy, finance executives in Asia Pacific are becoming relatively conservative compared to previous years," said Melanie Cochrane, American Express senior vice-president and general manager for global corporate payments in Japan, Asia-Pacific and Australia.

"We'll also see them keep a sharp eye on the bottom line, but spend selectively on activities that will drive revenue, like sales and marketing and new product development," she adds.

Other highlights indicate 60 per cent plan to boost headcount in the next 12 months, while 83 per cent expect the local economy to return to robust growth by end-2012.

With expected improvement in economic conditions, most hiring firms aim to acquire specialised skills, expertise or experience (60 per cent for Hong Kong versus 53 per cent overall).

This motivation comes well ahead of adding jobs to lift production capacity, or restoring capabilities reduced in recent years.

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