HK SME cyber awareness in decline despite rise in cyber attacks – QBE

Six in 10 report more digitalised businesses in past 12 months

HK SME cyber awareness in decline despite rise in cyber attacks – QBE


By Kenneth Araullo

A survey found that small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Hong Kong are less aware of cyber threats despite a rise in cyber attacks reported to the government’s computer security centre.

Research conducted by insurer QBE found that cyber risk awareness for SMEs in the special region declined to 36% in 2022 from 43% in 2021.

The survey found that six in 10 of HK SMEs have more digitalized businesses compared to 2021, and that modernisation looks set to continue in the future. According to the results, SMEs plan to spend on digital marketing, e-commerce platform/software, and staff collaboration software as their top digital priorities over the next 12 months.

The digitalisation trend also translated to more comfortable online business transactions, as the survey found that there is an upward trend of insurance purchases online. Online insurance purchasing rose from 32% in 2020 to 37% in 2021 and 43% in 2022.

Rise in e-commerce revenue

Four out of five companies surveyed said that they now buy and/or sell goods or services through the internet, which continues the trend from 2021. That said, it appears that e-commerce in Hong Kong has now overtaken traditional business channels, as more than half of the revenue reported by SMEs now comes from online businesses. In 2021, online transactions accounted for 45%, while traditional businesses accounted for the remaining 55%.

Shifting to e-commerce is not without its issues, however. SMEs surveyed by QBE listed increased competition (31%) and data security threats (22%) as the top two concerns for their businesses. Concerns about online security are not unfounded, as the Hong Kong Computer Emergency Response Team said that security incidents rose by 9% year on year from 2021. Despite this, one in 10 remain without protection against cyber risks, while three in 10 are not sufficiently protected through the purchase of insurance.

A February survey from the same insurer for SMEs in Singapore found optimism about business and economic outlook, but caution on the rise of goods and services taxes (GST).

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