Hong Kong entrepreneurs are younger but don’t like technology, survey finds

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 September, 2016, 10:05pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 September, 2016, 11:23pm

Two-thirds of Hongkongers have plans to start a new business and become self-employed, but the top businesses that entrepreneurs want to own are still consumer-focused and not high-tech companies, according to a new study.

The Global Entrepreneur Survey, conducted by US-based web-hosting company GoDaddy, found that the businesses popular with Hong Kong entrepreneurs are retail companies (26 per cent), services which consumers find valuable (17 per cent) and experiential services (16 per cent).

Combined, these three industries made up about 60 per cent of respondents’ ideal companies to manage. More than 500 professionals were surveyed, including 201 small business owners from Hong Kong.

The statistics highlight Hong Kong’s inclination towards a services-led economy, despite experts warning that Hong Kong may be lagging behind in technological developments and innovation compared to more advanced economies such as Singapore or South Korea.

Additionally, only 30 per cent of business owners would opt to “do it themselves” when it came to managing online businesses, compared to the global standard of 56 per cent.

“In Hong Kong, more people rely on others to help them rather than adopting technology themselves, building their own website or managing their cloud services,” Roger Chen, GoDaddy’s vice president of Asia, said.

Thirty eight per cent of Hong Kong respondents also felt that new technologies have negatively affected their lives, such as causing stress.

Chen added that he recommends business owners brush up on their digital skills in order to stay competitive in an increasingly technological world.

However, the survey also found that Hong Kong millennials, defined as those aged between 18 to 30, tended to venture into entrepreneurship earlier than the rest of the world.

Forty two per cent of millennial entrepreneurs in Hong Kong had started their current businesses while they were still students, almost double the global average of 24 per cent. The figure is also higher than that of Singapore, where only 32 per cent of entrepreneurs were still studying when they started their business.

“With more people choosing to become entrepreneurs supported by increased cultural acceptance and increased ease of technology use, more millennials ... in Hong Kong are looking to start their own small businesses than ever before,” said Chen.

GoDaddy’s survey also found that 87 per cent of baby boomers, defined as the generation of people aged between 51 and 70, planned to start their own businesses in the next decade. This means that the baby boomer generation has the highest propensity towards entrepreneurship, almost quadruple the global average of 21 per cent.

However, Chen said that this may be due to more baby boomers being laid off or having their hours reduced because of newer technology, thus triggering them to pursue entrepreneurship in order to make a living.