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[This is a sponsored article with HSBC.]

2020 brought about a wave of unpredictability in the business environment, and 2021 seems to be starting on the same foot as well. But, it’s not all doom and gloom. Some managed to seek out new opportunities, while others had to close up shop due to the lack of demand.

In HSBC’s annual Navigator survey, they found that 55% of Malaysian businesses managed to adapt to the new challenges. And 30% of them thrived due to these changes too—compared to the global percentage of just 24%.

Note: HSBC’s 2020 Navigator survey was conducted by Kantar (a market research company) on behalf of HSBC. They interviewed over 10,000 businesses globally. The report specific to Malaysia is based on a survey of 200 Malaysian businesses from various industries.

Here are some of the findings from the survey that will help you prepare your business for the upcoming economic rebound.

1. Demand Alone Is Not Enough, Changes Are Needed

Businesses in Malaysia didn’t have a great start in 2020 due to the early Movement Control Order (MCO) back in March. However, consumer spending is slowly recovering with various government stimulus and support programs.

The survey points out that 76% of businesses believe they can return to pre-COVID-19 profitability levels by the end of 2022 too.

Many local businesses have enjoyed the increase in local demand for their goods and services, and demand is poised to increase in 2021. However, just catering to local demand alone is not enough.

Ultimately, businesses need to learn to make changes and adapt to evolving market needs. Some transformed to offer their services digitally, for example, businesses are creating their own online platform to make their products more accessible to consumers instead of relying on their retail footprint.

74% of the surveyed businesses said that they’ve made changes in their business in the last 12 months in order to adapt to the new reality. Looking ahead, Malaysian companies view innovation and collaboration as the top two key success factors in their business.

Utilise HSBC Omni Collect: This enables your business to accept a wide range of payment methods such as cards, e-wallets, FPX Bank Transfers, QR Scan & Pay, all from a single terminal.

These payments will then be transferred to your account on the very next business day which helps with cash flow. You will also have access to a consolidated report to keep track of payments. This solution is available for your E-commerce or M-commerce business too.

Image Credit: HSBC

2. Increase Investment Into The Business

Even with the intention to up the company’s digital capability, a company can’t optimise their revenue if they don’t reinvest into the company for the right tools and resources.

The survey reported that 78% of businesses will look into more opportunities to invest in their company in 2021. In fact, 25% of them plan to increase their investment spending by 20%. They are prioritising their investments to improve cash flow, marketing and product innovation.

Maintaining a healthy cash flow is vital, especially for SMEs. Thus, having a robust tool to manage cash flow can simplify a lot of banking tasks for SMEs.

Utilise HSBCnet: HSBCnet is HSBC’s digital banking platform which comes in 20 global languages. It stands to be a one-stop platform for all business banking needs. 

You can even access different company accounts from a single profile. You’ll get an overview of your company’s cash position, and be able to manage everyday banking such as making payments with the ability to track local and overseas transfers too.

Once you’re equipped with the capabilities to accept overseas payment, you’ll be ready for international expansion.

3. Prepare To Expand The Business Into APAC

And in terms of expansion, 74% of respondents have plans to expand into APAC in 2 years too. Since 86% of the surveyed companies are already trading within APAC, they believe the expansion will help make their business more competitive.

However, before businesses can think of expansion, they’ll have to consider making changes to their supply chain. This is why 99% of the surveyed businesses have made adjustments accordingly, such as utilising digital tech and diversifying their suppliers.

These changes can result in cost reduction,  an increase in supply chain visibility and being closer to the end buyer.

Utilise HSBC’s Trade and FX Solutions: HSBCnet Internet Trade Service (ITS) supports your global business trades through your laptop or mobile phone. You can initiate trades, view transaction status and track whether bills are received, processed, authorised, sent or accepted, wherever you are.

You can manage FX exposure via HSBC Evolve too, which gives you a real-time view of two-way pricing for SPOT and Forward trading and provides access to 460 currency pairs.

Image Credit: HSBC

4. Streamline Process Of Receivables For Better Cash Flow

Managing a global business can be challenging if you don’t have a healthy cash flow. You may face a situation whereby your customers aren’t paying you quick enough and you need to make payments to your suppliers at the same time. 

This can be risky to your business if not managed carefully.

Utilise HSBC’s Receivables Financing (RF): RF Express is a simplified receivables financing solution designed with streamlined approval. As an alternative financing source, it gives you access to cash from your receivables as soon as you invoice your customers, so you don’t have to wait weeks or months for your payments to arrive.


As you can see from the survey, businesses that thrived and have good prospects moving forward were able to do so thanks to a combination of smart choices. 

Despite the current MCO 2.0, economic recovery is looming on everyone’s minds. But, being equipped with the right digital tools can be the turning point that businesses are looking for to be competitive in a post-COVID world.

Image Credit: HSBC
  • For more info on HSBC’s offerings, click here.
  • Read up on what we’ve written about HSBC in the past here.

Featured Image Credit: HSBC

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(UEN 201431998C.)

Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)