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for the Future

By embracing innovative and data-driven digital solutions, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can improve their day-to-day operations, tap into growth opportunities, and lay the foundation for long-term success.

GS1 Hong Kong has been helping businesses embrace standards and technologies for more than 30 years. When the global standards organization arrived in the bustling Asian metropolis in 1989, one of its first tasks was getting businesses, including many SMEs, to digitalize their checkout processes and inventory management by swapping handwritten price tags for barcodes.

Since ushering in the barcode revolution, GS1 Hong Kong has also introduced an online platform for B2B trade, facilitated omnichannel commerce and rolled out a suite of other solutions that cover everything from product traceability to IoT solutions and cold chain management. These innovations serve different purposes, but they all have one thing in common – all use smart technologies to empower businesses.

“For years, GS1 Hong Kong has used global standards to drive our ‘Go Digital, Go Smart’ initiatives,” says GS1 Hong Kong CEO, Anna Lin, explaining that one of the core missions of the non-profit organization is to support digital transformation to improve the way businesses work.

GS1 Hong Kong began helping businesses embrace new technologies in 1989 by encouraging SMEs to adopt barcodes and standard-based solutions.

One Click Solutions

Staying true to this commitment, the organization recently partnered with DBS to launch an innovative digital post-shipment trade financing solution. The solution leverages DBS’s cutting-edge technology, including its predictive analytics capabilities, to make trade financing easier for SMEs on GS1 Hong Kong’s ezTRADE B2B community platform. With users’ consent, the bank can tap into businesses’ historical data on ezTRADE to conduct credit assessments and then provide same-day financing, the amount of which is calculated based on real-time data to access credit that is updated on a dynamic and recurring basis.

The organization’s digital solutions make trade financing easier for SMEs.
Same-day financing is available through its ezTRADE community platform.

By freeing SMEs of the time-consuming and laborious paperwork traditionally required when applying for trade financing from banks, this one-click solution not only improves businesses’ cash flow for day-to-day operations but also allows them to focus on their products, services and scaling for long-term success.

For Lin, DBS is the perfect partner for creating this financing solution powered by alternative data. “DBS, among the banks that we have been working with, is very innovative and very willing to go the extra step,” she explains. The bank’s commitment to empowering SMEs also meant that they were able to develop a dynamic solution “from the perspective of the user” and launch it within half a year, Lin adds.

One-click solutions make applying for trade finance more efficient.

Since its rollout in June, the solution has already made a positive impact on SMEs such as Come In Enterprises Co. Ltd., a seasoning and gourmet foods company that has been operating in Hong Kong for more than 30 years.

“The trade financing solution co-created by DBS and GS1 Hong Kong makes life easier for SMEs. I can now obtain trade financing with one click via DBS online banking instead of needing to submit application forms and other supporting documents manually to the bank. My team and I are glad that we have a new avenue to quickly raise working capital and support Come In’s business growth and expansion.”

– Kam Sang Chan, Chairman, Come In Enterprises

Come In’s Kam Sang Chan says trade financing solutions make life easier for SMEs.
SMEs like Come In are able to quickly raise working capital to support growth.        

Overcoming Digital Barriers

The trade financing solution is just one example of DBS’s wider, and ongoing commitment to supporting SMEs on their digitalization journeys. This mission is especially important given that SMEs constitute more than 98% of business establishments in Hong Kong, making them the backbone of the local economy.

For many businesses the costs of adopting new technology and the availability of talent remain barriers to digitalization.

While most SMEs recognize the necessity of embracing technology, especially in light of recent disruptions caused by the pandemic and other global uncertainties, the pace of their digitalization still lags behind that of larger corporations. According to the 2021 DBS Digital Readiness Survey, only 41% of SMEs in Asia have a digital transformation plan in place. For many of these businesses, the costs of adopting new technology and the availability of talent remain barriers to their digitalization.

To help SMEs overcome these barriers so they can stay agile and competitive, DBS has ramped up its efforts in recent years to roll out digital banking initiatives that address different business pain points. For example, the bank offers SMEs the ability to open business accounts digitally in as quickly as three working days. Meanwhile, its mobile-first banking platform, DBS IDEAL, provides services from on-the-go payments, to real-time tracking of cross-border collections. And to provide more comprehensive support to businesses’ digitalization needs, DBS has made it a core priority to invest in ecosystem partnerships like the one with GS1 Hong Kong.

DBS IDEAL is a personalized platform that lets businesses manage transactions online.

“In order to support SMEs, it is important for DBS to not only be providing digital solutions but also to leverage ecosystem partnerships and bring bigger impact. By connecting our products and services into our partners’ supply chains and ecosystems, we can create seamless and invisible solutions for both new and existing DBS customers.”

– Sebastian Paredes, CEO, DBS Hong Kong

By working with ecosystem partners like GS1 Hong Kong, DBS continues to empower SMEs to embrace a technology-driven future, and deliver transformative solutions for thriving business communities across its global markets.

Discover how DBS is pioneering digital solutions to transform businesses and enrich lives