May 17, 2023
HONG KONG – Around 73 percent of surveyed enterprises plan to use artificial intelligence in business, but a shortage of talent is limiting its widespread adoption in Hong Kong, a survey shows.
The Hong Kong Wireless Technology Industry Association released the results of its latest survey of the city’s smartphone application industry on Tuesday, in which 94 percent of respondents said AI offers support for app development. Only 6 percent believe AI will replace human programmers.
A major constraint to the use of AI in program development is talent shortage, representing the biggest challenge for 60 percent of interviewed enterprises in the past year, an increase of 3 percent from 2021
Most surveyed companies are willing to embrace AI in business, as 69 percent said AI can improve efficiency and quality, and reduce costs. Thirty-three percent of smart app companies’ management teams have been scaled up for better application of AI, and 11 percent said their team size needs to be expanded by at least a quarter.
Fifty-three percent of companies said they lack the required skills and resources to utilize AI.
A major constraint to the use of AI in program development is talent shortage, representing the biggest challenge for 60 percent of interviewed enterprises in the past year, an increase of 3 percent from 2021.
About 47 percent of app developers encountered a lack of technology staff, while the shortage of management and sales personnel has been mitigated. To cope with the labor issue, more than half of the companies hired part-timers and freelancers, and 45 percent have enhanced their remuneration package to secure talent.
Alex Chan, general manager of the Digital Transformation of the Hong Kong Productivity Council, said, “It is practical for the smartphone application industry to provide technology training on AI for existing employees to improve efficiency and maintain business competitiveness.” Companies should not view AI as exclusive to IT or programming departments, but rather consider how to adopt it across departments, he added.
The debate whether AI will replace human work is widespread, but this survey shows more than 90 percent of insiders believe that AI plays a supporting role in app development, saying it can help boost productivity by 1 percent to 24 percent, but cannot replace programmers.
“Despite recurring news reports indicating that AI is on the threshold of displacing human beings, the survey results suggest that AI cannot be developed and operated without humanity,” said Keith Li, chairman of the WTIA. He added that people who can master and make good use of AI will replace those who are close-minded.
The survey, which saw executives from 172 companies in Hong Kong and elsewhere in Asia interviewed, was conducted by the Hong Kong Productivity Council from February to April.