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Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of many economies across Asia – where they account for over 90% of enterprises, and the bulk of employment – by have been increasingly underserved by global finance. The trade finance gap – estimated at $1.5 trillion USD pre-pandemic – has worsened to $1.7 trillion in 2020. The persistence of covid, the increasing pace of digitization, and the skills gap—do not bode well for SMEs, particularly in the emerging markets.
Against this backdrop, the Advisory Group on Trade Finance, formed by the International Chamber of Commerce in 2020, proposes a new vision for trade finance built around accessibility for SMEs, digitization and global interoperability. The technology exists to overhaul how trade finance works and make it a lot more inclusive. There are clear opportunities for Hong Kong, Asia and the world in this new ecosystem.
Dr Victor K Fung is Advisory Board Co-Chair of Asia Global Institute. He's also Group Chairman of the Fung Group, a Hong Kong-based multinational group which comprises major operating groups engaging in trading, logistics, distribution and retailing including privately-held Li & Fung Limited and publicly listed Convenience Retail Asia Limited.View Profile