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Mainland Chinese businesses lead tech adoption in APAC

Chinese firms are more likely than others in Asia-Pacific to tap on artificial intelligence and business intelligence among other technologies to drive innovation

Mainland Chinese firms have been the keenest adopters of technology in the Asia-Pacific region as they seek to gain a competitive edge through digitalisation and innovation, a survey has found.

Among surveyed markets, they were most likely to use artificial intelligence (AI), business intelligence (BI) software, customer relationship management (CRM) software, data analytics and visualisation software and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software in the past year, according to CPA Australia, a professional accounting body.

The survey also found that high growth businesses are much more likely to use these technologies than other businesses. Further, 96% of surveyed respondents reported that their employers undertook at least one technology-related project in the past 12 months, the highest among all surveyed markets.

CPA Australia surveyed 725 professionals in different industries from mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Malaysia and Australia. The survey results were included in CPA Australia’s Businesses technology report 2021.

“It’s very positive to see that mainland Chinese businesses are leading usage in almost all these technologies,” said Tony Chan, deputy president of CPA Australia’s South China committee.

“There is a connection between technology usage and business performance. Their strong focus on digitalisation and innovation will enable mainland Chinese businesses to not only keep pace with new technology trends, but also to lead them,” he added.

Chan noted that this trend will continue with China’s 14th national five-year plan identifying innovation and technology as a core national priority, along with favourable policies announced by the central and local governments and rapid deployment of 5G.

Some 91% of mainland Chinese respondents expected their employers to increase investment in or use of various technologies in the coming 12 months. Data analytics and visualisation software, cloud technology, BI software and AI are the technologies that mainland Chinese businesses will most likely increase investment in or use in the next 12 months.

Although strong technology adoption has brought many benefits, it’s not without its challenges. According to the survey, respondents from mainland China were most likely to identify cyber security concerns as a key barrier to business technology adoption.

“The survey findings show that mainland Chinese companies are more likely to adopt and invest in advanced technologies such as AI and BI software that rely heavily on data. It’s therefore not surprising that 41% of mainland Chinese respondents nominated cyber security concerns as a major challenge to business technology adoption,” said Wilson Feng, member of CPA Australia’s East and Central China committee.

“The data reveals that mainland Chinese businesses are taking action to meet this challenge. 47% of surveyed respondents from mainland China reported that their employers had increased investment in cyber security software in the past 12 months. 28% expect their employers to increase investment in cyber security software in the next 12 months.

“It is essential that digital transformation and risk mitigation go hand in hand. Businesses should also plan and execute strategies that manage potential risks to their network, data and technology tools to ensure that the organisation is safeguarded from threats,” Feng said.

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