Hong Kong companies have seen fewer delayed or default payments in the first quarter of this year, according to a survey. The survey by credit information agency Frontline Business Information, which polled the views of 1,584 local firms between January and last month, showed that 29.17 per cent of respondents experienced delays in business payments in the quarter. That was lower than the 33.56 per cent in the previous quarter. Default payments had also slightly decreased, to 14.02 per cent from 16.78 per cent previously. 'This improvement in payment is in fact in line with the progressive recovery of the US and the global economy,' the survey reported. Some industries such as toys, textiles, printed matters and lighting had shown significant improvement in late payments. However, the experience in other sectors such as processed food and beverages, restaurants, and clocks and watches had deteriorated during the quarter. Also, the research found that local companies faced more problems regarding delayed payments from their Hong Kong partners. During the period, the number of respondents citing problems with SAR firms rose from 22.07 per cent to 37.8 per cent. But overall, the survey also indicated local companies were more optimistic about the future. While 21.84 per cent of respondents believed that late payments would become increasingly common in their industries in the next six months, that was down from 29.53 per cent in the previous survey period.