Just 21% of HK consumers distrust digital services

digital enterprise
Just 21% of Hong Kong consumers distrust organizations using digital services (Image World Economic Forum)

Only 21% of Hong Kong consumers distrust organizations using digital services, suggesting that local organizations are well-placed to take advantage of the digital revolution, according to Microsoft.

A new study into consumer trust in digital services in Asia-Pacific, conducted by Microsoft in collaboration with IDC, finds that consumers are becoming more aware of the cybersecurity risks and the risks to the privacy of their personal data emerging from the ongoing digitalisation of services.

All five elements of trust jointly defined for the study - privacy, security, reliability, ethics, and compliance – are of near equal importance to Hong Kong consumers.

Meanwhile consumers have the highest expectations of trust from the government, followed by financial services institutions and healthcare organizations.

Trust is so important to Hong Kong consumers that 50% would recommend a trusted digital service to others even if the cost is higher, and only 4% would prefer a cheaper but less trusted digital platform.

But 41% of Hong Kong consumers have had their trust compromised when using digital services, and a significant proportion have stopped using a digital service due to negative trust experiences related to privacy (69%), security (61%), and reliability (49%).

Nearly half (47%) of the respondents report they would either switch to another organization or reduce the usage (48%) of the digital service in the event of such an experience, while 30% would stop using the digital service altogether.

“The upside for organizations with a trusted digital platform is tremendous as Hong Kong is one of the most digitally active markets in Asia Pacific and almost all of the transactions and interactions here would be digital in the near future,” Microsoft Greater China CEO and chairman Alain Crozier said.

“However, despite consumers’ increasing reliance on digital services, there is certainly more that organizations can do to earn consumer trust. I urge business leaders to better understand what drives consumer trust and focus on how they can build trust and make it a key competitive advantage for their digital services,” Crozier added.

The study also explored Hong Kong consumers' attitudes towards the emerging field of AI. Despite much speculation about the impact of AI on the viability of whole categories of future jobs, 73% of Hong Kong respondents believe that the impact of AI on their jobs will be positive.

Meanwhile 35% are optimistic about the future of AI and only 4% are pessimistic. But building all five elements of trust will be vital to the development of the nascent industry. The study showed that consumers in Hong Kong feel that the government (45%) should take the lead in building trust in AI, followed by technology companies (29%).

To enhance cybersecurity awareness in vertical industries, Microsoft has collaborated with HKCERT to unveil the Cybersecurity Watch Pilot Program for the healthcare industry. The program is opened to public, private hospitals and medical organizations. 

"We'll match the IP address of the participating organizations with HKCERT's cyber threat intelligence database, and give security warnings to them to do follow-up actions," said Leung Siu-Cheong, senior consultant at HKCERT.

He added that a regular written report will be sent to the participating organizations, which includes security news about the healthcare industry and the security attacks targeted to organization-specific IT infrastructure so that they can better mitigate security risks. 

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