Local firms remain optimistic despite turbulent geopolitical landscape

Enhanced use of digital economy and expansion across new markets will ensure they are well positioned to leverage


LOCAL businesses remain upbeat on the outlook growth as improvement in productivity and investment in technology are expected to drive sales in the near term, according to HSBC’s global survey “Navigator: Now, Next and How”.

The survey indicated that more than four out of five businesses in Malaysia (85%) feel they have positive prospects of international trade over the next two years.

HSBC Malaysia CEO Stuart Milne (picture) said Malaysian businesses are responding positively towards the global geopolitical landscape.

“Enhanced use of digital economy, expansion across new markets and focusing on strategic suppliers in their supply chains will ensure that they are well positioned to leverage (due to the) opportunities from the changing economic landscape,” he said in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

The survey also showed China and Singapore remain Malaysia’s two largest trading partners, while Indonesia had increased greatly in the last 12 months.

“In the next three to five years, Asia is still seen as the region offering the best prospects for growth by two-thirds, or 66% of Malaysian companies, against a quarter, or 24%, who are considering Europe and just 17% who are favourable towards North America,” according to the survey.

The global banking group also applauded the government’s initiative to accelerate the digital economy as outlined in the recent Budget 2020.

5G technologies, artificial intelligence and robotics are the key technologies, which will have the biggest future impact on businesses, according to the survey.

“Malaysia and Brazil are the countries that anticipate the most impact from introducing transformative technologies, a level which is considerably above the global average of 28%, or Asia at 31%,” the report said.

The latest report involved more than 9,100 companies across 35 markets, including more than 202 firms from Malaysia.

HSBC’s Navigator survey helps businesses capitalise on new opportunities and make informed decisions for the future by understanding the outlook for international trade.

Meanwhile, Milne declined to comment on job cuts involving HSBC Malaysia, but stressed that the banking institution would continue to invest in Malaysia in the future.

“I’m not going to comment on that (potential job reduction) as any business make adjustments to headcount from time to time, like any other bank, like any other company does,” he said.

Last month, HSBC Holdings plc said it would cut 10,000 jobs globally as it sought to reduce costs across its overall operation. Currently, HSBC Malaysia employs 7,400 people.

Headquartered in London, HSBC serves customers worldwide from offices in 65 countries and territories in various geographical regions: Europe, Asia, North America, Latin America, Middle East and North Africa.