Steady cash flow more crucial for Indian firms than access to tech: HSBC

Valuing customers, maintaining a strong balance sheet and supporting a culture of innovation were the key attributes to building resilience as per the surveyed Indian businesses, it said.
Maintaining sufficient cash flow is considered more crucial in building business resilience, than gaining access to advanced technology, a survey by global banking major HSBC said on Tuesday.

The British lender interviewed 200 Indian companies across revenue sizes, from the smallest to large ones, between April 28 and May 12 this year as part of the 14-nation survey.

The findings come at a time when the Covid-19 pandemic has had an impact on economic activities, and due to the stress that it has caused, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has also announced a one-time restructuring of loans to contain the non-performing assets in the system.

The survey, conducted through market research and consulting firm Kantar, said maintaining sufficient cash flow was voted by 41 per cent of the Indian firms surveyed as a key to build resilience, as against 38 per cent who pointed to concerns on gaining access to new technology, according to the survey findings.

India stood second behind Malaysia (at 42 per cent) where maintaining cash flow has been considered by businesses as a key barrier to building resilience, it said.
"In light of the current environment, maintaining sufficient cash flow and gaining access to advanced technology were identified as key barriers to building resilience over the next six months by the surveyed Indian firms," the findings said.

Indian firms realise that building resilience is not a single aspect, it is about more than a strong balance sheet, it added.

Valuing customers, maintaining a strong balance sheet and supporting a culture of innovation were the key attributes to building resilience as per the surveyed Indian businesses, it said.

The lender's Head of Commercial Banking Rajat Verma said the current environment has thrown "challenges like never before" and added that the survey points to the impact of technology on the business.

More than two-fifths (41 per cent) of Indian businesses surveyed accorded top priority to invest in technology and innovation, it said adding that this was the highest among all the markets where the survey was carried out.

In the past two years, around 77 per cent of the surveyed Indian businesses have invested in technology and innovation, which is higher than the overall average of 65 per cent across all markets, but less than China's 79 per cent, as per the survey.


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