Hong Kong enterprises are more optimistic than their regional counterparts on the business outlook for 2013, but available IT resources may not fully support such growth.
This is the major finding from the latest IT Spending and Priorities 2013 Study conducted by Computerworld Hong Kong and Enterprise Innovation.
The online study surveyed more than 120 IT practitioners, including IT managers, executives and business leaders from various industries. The survey covers major Asia markets including Hong Kong, Indonesia, India, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
Despite global economic uncertainty, Hong Kong enterprises continue to anticipate business growth. The survey shows 37% of Hong Kong IT leaders expect their business to expand in 2013. They are more confident on growth compared to their regional peers, of which only 33% are expecting growth. (Figure 1)
Regional IT leaders are more conservative on upcoming business growth, with 26% of them expecting businesses to focus on cost control with limited growth. In Hong Kong only 21% felt the same.
HK lags in IT resources
Although local enterprises are more confident about business expansion in 2013, the survey indicates a significant gap in IT budget expectations between Hong Kong enterprises and those in the region.
Only 29% of local IT leaders expect an increased IT budget to support the anticipated business growth. Among regional IT executives, 38% expect more IT resources in the upcoming year. (Figure 2)
The majority of Hong Kong IT leaders (60%) expect their IT budgets to stay the same or decrease from last year, but only 54% from the region stated the same.
The survey finding dovetails with Gartner's latest IT spending forecast. The research firm said in a statement that IT spending in Asia Pacific is forecast to reach US$733 billion in 2013, a 7.1% increase from the previous year. This forecast growth is slightly higher than 2012, when regional IT spending grew by 6.7%.
A vertical view
From a vertical perspective, banking and finance as well as logistics and transportation appear to suffer the most from shrinking IT resources.
With the recent volatility in the financial industry, it's not surprising to see 36% of IT leaders from this sector expect a budget cut in 2013. Also expecting a decline in IT spending is the logistics and transportation industry, with 43% indicating a decrease in their IT budgets. (Figure 3)
Meanwhile, growth in the regional IT market is expected in retail and manufacturing industries as well as the IT and technology sector, with 32% and 45%, respectively, expecting an increase in IT budgets.
The rising number of Chinese travelers and shoppers are expected to fuel the growth of IT spending in the retail industry. The competitive telecom industry and maturing cloud computing markets are expected to be the driving force for firms in these industries to increase their IT budgets.
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.