According to research by HSBC, more than four-fifths (82%) of UAE companies expect to grow over the next two years, as the twin engines of Expo 2020 and their own aggressive investment plans drive new business.
‘Navigator: Made for the Future’, a new study by HSBC comprising over 2,500 companies in 14 countries and territories states that the boost in business confidence makes the UAE one of the world’s most optimistic markets for growth globally, behind only Indonesia, India, China, and Mexico.
Mike Davis, Head of Commercial Banking, HSBC UAE said, “Expo 2020 remains the overriding factor resulting in such strong confidence for growth. With an estimated 190 nations participating and more than 25 million visits to Expo 2020 expected, businesses are seeing how this international event has the potential to connect companies across the globe. It will be a catalyst to even greater growth opportunities.”
UAE businesses plan to increase investment by more than 5%
UAE businesses intend to pursue aggressive investment plans to drive growth in the medium-term, ‘Navigator: Made for the Future’ finds. Almost two-thirds plan to increase investment by more than 5% with the majority focusing on upskilling staff (56%). 78% believe the mix of skills and diversity in their workforce will change in their business in the medium-term.
Innovation also remains at the forefront of achieving growth. Despite 37% of UAE businesses identifying cost as a barrier, 86% of UAE businesses expect technology to change. The internet of things (68%), 5G (66%) and Artificial Intelligence (63%) are viewed as the greatest opportunities to facilitate increased speed to market, business transparency, improved productivity and enhanced customer experience.
Investing in people and seeking opportunity through innovation enables businesses to become more efficient, more customer-centric and greener. The desire to operate in a more eco-friendly future is clear.
Over a third of UAE businesses intend to increase investment in sustainability, out of which 60% intend to achieve this by more than 5%. Some businesses plan to improve product manufacturing, upgrade plants/premises or equipment. Others will focus on investing in sustainability practices.
“It is exciting that an increasing number of businesses are also putting sustainable practice at the centre of their growth strategy. While the survey data shows that many plan to increase investment in this area, we are also seeing a number of businesses take advantage of alternative ways to become more sustainable. In addition, as younger generations come into the workforce, they bring with them an imprinted recognition of the importance of ongoing sustainability. Businesses are fast recognising that this is a critical component to be able to recruit and retain new talent,” Mike concluded.