The research was unveiled as Regus announced the launch of BusinessLink, an online trading platform that allows hundreds of thousands of its customers worldwide to buy and sell products and services, and connect with other businesses using the Regus network.
A majority of Hong Kong companies (67%) believe face-to-face networking will remain the best way to find new customers over the next two to three years. But whereas Mainland Chinese companies recognise the growing importance of business social media in the new business mix (59%, up from 36% in the previous three years), more than half (54%) of Hong Kong businesses see online advertising as a better way to expand their market reach.
This multichannel approach to new business generation was revealed by research carried out for global workspace provider Regus in which over 16,000 senior business managers were surveyed around the world.
In Hong Kong, businesspeople believe that face-to-face networking will remain the most effective way to generate new business. However, six per cent fewer respondents think this will be true over the next two to three years compared to the last two to three years. This perhaps reflects a recognition by businesspeople that methods of generating business are evolving.
Professional social networking is one alternative method that is steadily growing in popularity - ever-increasing user numbers underline its perceived usefulness. An example of this is the popular professional networking portal LinkedIn, which now has more than 135 million members worldwide.