Notwithstanding the recession that Hong Kong’s economy has fallen into since the pandemic outbreak, many economic indicators, including “Quarterly business indices of accommodation service” from the Census and Statistics Department, and “Provisional visitor arrivals”, “Overnight visitor arrivals by country / region of residence”, and “Hotel Room Occupancy” announced by the Hong Kong Tourism Board, have shown that Hong Kong has returned to normalcy and the Hotel industry has been gradually on the road to recovery.
Hong Kong has returned to normalcy in the post-COVID 19 era. The fast and convenient links with the Mainland and the rest of the world have resumed and different businesses in the city are gradually reviving. The Government has also launched the "Happy Hong Kong" campaign, which features a wide range of fun and interesting activities across Hong Kong for citizens to enjoy happy moments together. It is hoped that the campaign can help stimulate local consumption and boost the economy.
The insurance industry in Hong Kong is navigating both opportunities and challenges in the global business landscape. The Government has set its sights on establishing the city as a regional insurance hub. Although the COVID-19 pandemic initially caused a decline in gross premiums, the reopening of borders in 2023 sparked robust demand for long-term insurance from mainland customers. Regulatory measures like IFRS 17 and the forthcoming RBC regime are enhancing transparency and bolstering financial stability. Technological advancements, including digitalization, AI, and big data, are streamlining processes and broadening the customer base through personalized services. Insurance agents are adapting by providing consultancy services and tailored solutions, setting themselves apart from online platforms. The industry also recognises the increasing necessity for skilled professionals who possess expertise in insurance knowledge, commercial acumen, digital skills, risk management, compliance, actuarial proficiency, and innovation. It is imperative to invest in upskilling and reskilling existing staff to meet the evolving demands of the industry.
Hong Kong's economic recovery after gradual resumption to post-pandemic normalcy are anticipated to stimulate growth in the accounting sector, despite potential obstacles like declining global demand and high interest rates. Recent regulatory changes have aligned the accounting profession with international standards, compelling it to consistently elevate the level of quality among professional accountants and, in turn, safeguard the public interest. COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift of accountants into strategic advisory roles, requiring a more diverse skill set. The Greater Bay Area's growth, amplified by increased business opportunities, cross-border collaboration, and technological advancements, is expected to boost demand for professional accounting services. The report also emphasises the industry's clerical staff shortage and the need for skilled mid-tier personnel, discussing the impact of emigration trends and the rising demand for accountants in burgeoning areas like ESG initiatives and innovative financial products.
In the post-pandemic era, the application of digital and information technology in the beauty care and hairdressing industries has accelerated. Companies have to restructure their business strategies and promote digitalisation of their operations. In order to effectively promote and sell products and services, industry practitioners are required to master digital marketing, video production, and social media skills. For example, the beauty care industry should introduce high-value cross-industry projects to provide more diverse services and products, in order to meet the needs of different consumers. Additionally, to enhance the competitiveness of the hairdressing industry, the industry should optimise the process of existing hairdressing services.
The Timepiece Industry has a strong demand for after-sales services and watch repairing professionals. Considering that most serving watch technicians are in advanced age, there is a pressing need for new blood to join the industry. Owing to the increasing myopia and ageing population, the Optical Industry also has a growing demand for optometrists. Insufficient supply of frontline salespersons and middle-level management personnel is also noticed in both industries. To attract and retain talents, the industries may need to develop a certification system to recognise practitioners’ qualifications, and attract young people to join the industries through the provision of more career exploratory activities. The Government may also consider moderately subsidising training institutions to offer relevant programmes and enhancing the existing “Earn and Learn Scheme”.
Hong Kong's banking and finance industry recovered due to its strategic position as an International Financial Centre and favorable tax system, despite challenges like banking stress, higher interest rates, and geopolitical tensions. Emerging sectors, including green finance, fintech, and virtual assets, along with the global family offices initiatives, are positioning Hong Kong as a pivotal hub for capital flows. Technological advancements, especially in fintech, reshaped banking operations through AI, blockchain, cloud computing, and big data. However, talent shortage prompted measures to attract and retain skilled professionals. Collaborative efforts between Hong Kong and Mainland offices enhanced operational efficiency. Although overall manpower demand increased modestly, there was a continuous need for skilled individuals, particularly in compliance and risk management roles. Practitioners were urged to acquire cross-disciplinary skills combining banking and IT expertise. With ESG and green finance driving change, proficiency in sustainable investment strategies, climate risk assessment, ESG compliance, and green financing was crucial. Adapting to digital asset trends was also vital for competitiveness in the evolving industry landscape.
After suffering from the pandemic for a few years, the automobile industry has managed to maintain the number of people it employs. The total number of employees in the industry has just slightly decreased from 16 941 in 2019 to 16 693 in 2023. However, the industry needs to do its best to encourage more young people to join in order to compensate for the looming retirement wave, particularly at the craftsman level of the vehicle servicing sector. Besides, maintaining a skilled workforce and staying up-to-date with evolving automotive technologies are one of major challenges for the automobile industry.
AI technology is revolutionising the media and communications industry in various ways. Personalisation of information delivery, analysing consumer data and predicting behavior are significant applications that allow media outlets, marketers and advertisers to target their audience more effectively. AI tools are also utilised in digital media production, advertising, public relations, and marketing to generate design proposals, storyboards, scripts, and articles. While AI can enhance creativity and efficiency, there are also potential copyright and legal concerns. It is important to recognise the value of human creativity, originality, emotional intelligence, and empathy, which AI cannot fully replace. Education institutes and training providers should be aware of the issues and risks, such as local ethical standards and regulations, to be encountered by industry practitioners and address them in AI training programmes. Practitioners should initiate self-directed learning and stay updated with the latest AI developments in the media and communications industry.
Digital transformation in businesses has been remarkably speeded up across industries especially in the electronics and telecommunications industries. Many companies have strengthened their efforts in leveraging new digital tools and accelerated the application of digital technologies in their operations, products and services. In the light of the increasing clients' requests on data analytics services, tailor-designed AI and IoT solutions, etc., some telecommunications companies have expanded their core business “from telcos to techcos” (i.e. from a telecoms operator to a technology company). The new business model would facilitate the digital transformation of other industries as well as create new business opportunities and values of the services of the electronics and telecommunications industries.
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