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Asia’s young entrepreneurs care more about social responsibility, less about money

Millennial entrepreneurs in Asia-Pacific care less about personal wealth than their older peers, and are instead driven by the desire for fame, positive social impact, and self-improvement, according to HSBC

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 June, 2017, 9:32am
UPDATED : Thursday, 22 June, 2017, 10:43pm

You may have heard a lot about the irresponsible and self-centered generation Y, but new research by HSBC suggests differently.

According to the latest HSBC study of 4,000 entrepreneurs, millennials in Hong Kong and other regions of Asia-Pacific s are more likely to be driven by the desire for fame, positive social impact, and self-improvement than their older peers.

Millennials are also less driven by the incentive of increasing personal wealth and being one’s own boss, even as these factors were seen as top priorities among entrepreneurs in other age groups.

About a quarter of entrepreneurs in their 20s in Asia-Pacific said having a positive impact on the community was an important goal, compared with just 13 per cent of entrepreneurs aged over 50, according to the survey.

The divide is particularly clear on the mainland, where 41 per cent of millennial entrepreneurs said they put considerable effort into social and environmental issues, compared to less than one-third among baby boomers.

“The ongoing transition from a manufacturing base toward technology-oriented growth [in the mainland], as well as rapid change in the dynamics of the labour market, is throwing a spotlight onto environmental and social issues,” said Siew Meng Tan, Asia-Pacific head of HSBC Private Banking.

While the global findings suggested shifting priorities for young business people, the HSBC report found millennial entrepreneurs in Asia-Pacific place a higher priority on financial considerations compared to their western peers.

In Hong Kong, 56 per cent of millennial entrepreneurs say they went into business with the goal of increasing their personal wealth, compared with 40 per cent in the US and 29 per cent in Europe, according to the survey.

But, in general, the y generation in Asia-Pacific care less about money. The study found only 38 per cent of millennial entrepreneurs prioritise personal wealth, lower than the 45 per cent of those over 50 globally.

Moreover, among reasons for starting their business, 52 per cent of Hong Kong’s millennial entrepreneurs cited the desire to change their lifestyle, while 44 per cent cited the desire to be their own boss.

“Growing affluence in Asia-Pacific and awareness for the environment have shaped the mindset of the new generation of entrepreneurs,” Tan said. “Driven by these factors and the digital revolution, millennial entrepreneurs increasingly prioritise influence and impact on the local community compared with older generations.”