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Digital Business Strategies for Hong Kong Businesses During COVID-19 and Beyond

The COVID-19 pandemic is compelling people to renegotiate their world views. Its immediate impact was and continues to be on human life. It has also gradually expanded to devour businesses and the economy at large. S&P Global forecasts Hong Kong Gross Domestic Product to contract 1.7 per cent in 2020.


Hong Kong’s business leaders are facing challenges with their current business models and now need to adapt and change their business strategy and partner ecosystem to deal with this large scale crisis. 


We are drawing from over 25 years of experience as digital partners in helping our clients realign their business strategies for the current and post COVID-19 world.

Within chaos lies opportunities


ThoughtWorks can help prepare your organization to embrace “The Next Normal” and focus on building new business models, ecosystems and revenue strategies.

Financing a sustainable economy after the Coronavirus outbreak

Businesses are predicted to be impacted by a global economic crisis as a result of a reduction in global demand and increased operational risk. In this context, banks and financial institutions will experience high pressure on net-interest margins and increased operational risks. On the other hand, consumers are challenged by reduced income, which in turn reduces their repayment capacity, and leads to conservative spending post the pandemic. 


A strong digital backbone can effectively help Hong Kong’s traditional banks to improve productivity and innovative banks to increase their capacity to serve during COVID-19:

  • We helped a Hong Kong Virtual Bank design and deliver a localized customer proposition and experience, with the bank successfully launched in early 2020
  • We helped one of China’s largest banks build a DevOps Platform to manage the productivity and quality of multiple vendor development teams
  • We helped a global insurance provider build a fully integrated and secure insurance sales platform for its agents to enable advisors to work remotely, improve advisors’ productivity and achieve quicker approval via straight-through automated processes


Retail and e-commerce in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic

The retail industry is in uncharted territory. While non-discretionary categories have witnessed high temporary spikes, the impact on segments like fashion has been catastrophic, resulting in store closures, staff furlough, and other measures to control costs and maintain short-term solvency. COVID-19 has brought a significant shift in consumer behaviour while they are cocooned at home - an inclination towards comfort foods and a marked shift to digital for shopping, entertainment, and education.


Retailers are battling immediate challenges in maintaining operations, keeping customers and employees engaged, and for some, even staying relevant. Simultaneously, they are keenly observing how consumer shifts may impact their business models as they emerge on the other side. With a moving horizon of when a true turnaround can be expected, retailers’ focus is on creating response strategies in the short-term; driving stabilization, and building momentum in the mid-term. 


At ThoughtWorks, we are leveraging our expertise in technology and business to help retailers evolve their business:

  • We helped a global furniture retailer refine their omni-channel strategy to support their e-commerce and inspiration App and Tmall store launch during COVID-19
  • We helped a global coffee chain launch no contact order in store and delivery to home, which allowed them to continue serving customers during COVID-19
  • We helped a global luxury retailer to equip their sales associates with personalized digital selling tools to stay connected with customers remotely and continue to earn revenue from the comfort of their homes


Staying afloat as tourism nears standstill

Hong Kong’s economy relies heavily on travel and tourism, contributing 17.4% to Hong Kong Gross Domestic Product in 2018, but COVID-19 has forced Hong Kong’s tourism industry to a near standstill. Hotel occupancy rates are now at an all-time low of 29% in February 2020 compared with 91% a year earlier according to the Hong Kong Tourism Board. 


Being a digital business with automated processes, a strong focus on operations and the ability to engage directly with customers is now a must-have for hotels and resorts. We are working with a resort company in Macau to strengthen their digital touchpoints (App / Mini Programs) to acquire direct access to customers that book through OTAs, and incentivize customers to return and book directly. In parallel on the operations side, we are helping this client automate common, repetitive manual tasks done by staff to free their time to serve customers and increase effectiveness. 


Governing during the COVID-19 Pandemic

The public sector is increasing its focus on welfare measures thereby safeguarding people’s lives and livelihood. Hong Kong’s jobless rate has soared to a nine-year high, with the unemployment rate at 4.2 per cent in January to March 2020.


At ThoughtWorks, we are leveraging our expertise in technology and business to help governments around the world navigate through these uncertain times. Our partnership with the government has seen us play critical roles in a few projects around the world, such as helping citizens to access Government services self-serve, provide citizens proactively with important information, and developing an open-source hospital system.

Navigate the COVID-19 Crisis with ThoughtWorks Complimentary Advisory Services

Evaluate your business resilience and respond effectively to the impacts of COVID-19. Get in touch with us and know more.