, Hong Kong

Ivan Chan from Mazars in Hong Kong joins panel of judges at Hong Kong Business Awards 2021 

He shares trends that will define Hong Kong businesses in the years to come.

As one of the judges in this year’s Hong Kong Business Awards, we spoke to Ivan Chan, Audit & Financial Advisory Services Partner from Mazars in Hong Kong as he shares insights into the current trends that will define Hong Kong businesses and his thoughts on this year’s Hong Kong Business Awards.

Can you share with us your work experience or a backstory that has contributed to your expertise? 

I have over 20 years of experience in audit & financial advisory services and have solid experience in due diligence, mergers & acquisitions activities, business valuation, financial investigations, and IPOs.

I also have extensive experience spanning a range of companies including public companies, multinational corporations, not-for-profit organisations, and the private sector. My industry experience includes securities and commodities dealers, financial advisory service providers, IT & high-tech companies, resources, manufacturing, retail, and distribution.

What are some of your hobbies and favourite activities on the side? Can you tell us more about them?

I am passionate about music & enjoy listening to music, particularly Jazz, as a keen hobby. Enjoying best-loved music can decrease stress levels tremendously. 

Watching movies & playing soccer with friends during leisure time are also my favourite activities. Team sport always requires communication, leadership, and cooperation which are also essential soft skills in business. 

Which trends do you think will define Hong Kong businesses in the years to come?

Hong Kong's economy rebounds & recovers strongly, various newly arising trends could be easily captured in the market. COVID hammered the total consumption spending of Hong Kong; however, the growth of the e-commerce market will continue to soar in the upcoming year. 2021 has been a record-breaking year for the e-commerce market, and its associated implications will be continuously leading the recovery of the entire Hong Kong business environment. 

Almost all industries in Hong Kong have been severely affected by the pandemic. What's your advice to those who are in the early stages of recovery? 

  • Analysis of future potential opportunities: With the redefinition and reorganization of the business climate & consumer behaviour in Hong Kong, the pandemic has opened up the door for new opportunities. Companies should seize these new opportunities, reposition their businesses & take benefit of first-mover advantages. 
  • Cash-flow optimization: Optimizing moveable capital is essential for any business especially during the pandemic as it can provide a competitive edge, make companies more financially robust and be able to withstand temporary economic frustration. 
  • Considering the adoption of new technology: Companies can start to look forward to formulating plans for embracing business recovery. This pandemic has created an imperative for companies to reconfigure their position and operation and accelerated the adoption of technology transformation. The implication of new technology including Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotic Process Automation (RPA), & Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) could be lifesavers to companies who are facing a dilemma. Developing and maintaining efficient forms of automation can easily allow companies to reduce operating costs. 

Many experts are espousing digital transformation as the key action that will keep businesses afloat during and after the pandemic. But is there a possibility that it can also be a hindrancemuch less an added problemto their survival and progress? 

Digital transformation is a comprehensive business process that could be used to achieve profit maximization. Nevertheless, companies may encounter various obstacles. 

  • Lack of leadership could lead to deviation from original objectives that should be achieved by businesses. Most of the transformation fails as the blueprint of the project is not clearly defined before implementation. A specific & all-encompassing vision should be formulated by the leader to avoid any miscommunication within the firm. 
  • Everyone in the firm should have an in-depth understanding of the internal & external impacts. If the communication within the firm is seamless, then all colleagues will be on the same page of this transformation journey and react positively to the changes. 
  • Regardless of how many resources companies have, security issues are always one of the main obstacles or threats. Improper security will lead to failure and bring uncertainty & instability to the prospects of digital transformation.
  • Investing in technology is never an effortless task, before proceeding to the next step, thorough market research should be conducted, especially the definition of “new normal” should be clarified from time to time as the next normal is always changing.

What key factors are you looking for when judging who should win? 

Innovation: Innovation helps businesses differentiate themselves from other competitors. Enterprises that really stand out in today’s industry obviously have a similaritythey all embrace innovation.

Social responsibility: Making a proactive contribution to our communities & society is one of the fundamental values of every successful business.

Business sustainability: Sustainability initiatives contribute to the overall success of a business. It has become a key element in formulating a company's successful strategy. Companies that do not consider sustainability are less successful on multiple metrics, including profitability, growth, & employee retention.

Adaptability: The ability of a business to bend without breaking is the key to survival. Being adaptable enables companies to better prepare for future unknown events, whether positive or negative.

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