The BEYOND Virtual Opening presents world-class entrepreneurs, scientists, global investors, and tech experts to share with us the trends of technology, investments, and the impact of each industry in shaping the world we live in today and the future.

In his opening remarks,  David Liao, Co-Chief Executive, Asia-Pacific, HSBC said when the COVID pandemic struck, it became very clear that digital transformation was no longer a choice for businesses, but a necessity. The pandemic has an impact on payments.

He also shared how the pandemic accelerated the growth of e-commerce and how the banking group is doing to help its clients adapt and how it scales its digital transformation.

Below is the full text of his speech at the BEYOND Virtual Opening. The text has been edited for clarity and brevity.

Hello, I’m David Liao, Co-Chief Executive of HSBC, Asia Pacific. I’m delighted to join the BEYOND Expo conference today.

It’s been a challenging couple of years. We’re all of us here looking, planning and moving forward. So what’s next for us at HSBC?

Technology has always been a driver of change. Even before COVID, artificial intelligence, big data, and blockchain, just to name a few, we are already revolutionizing the landscape we operate in.

Then the pandemic struck. It became very clear that digital transformation was no longer a choice for businesses, but a necessity. COVID-19 triggered a decade’s worth of change in just a few short months.

The biggest impact: payments, specifically cashless digital payments, is in play.

The pandemic accelerated the growth of e-commerce. The way people spent their money and the things they spent it on changed radically. An example would be a certain online US retailer’s second-quarter results in 2020, which recorded 40% year-on-year growth and was boosted by a tripling of grocery sales.

And overnight, volumes of food delivery services skyrocketed. Across Southeast Asia, 85 percent of consumers now use cashless payments. The digital payments market in the Asia Pacific is growing by more than 30 percent a year.

The technology and expectations are changing so fast. You might have been a digital bank yesterday and still be a dinosaur today.

So we’re running hard to stay in front. It’s challenging, but it’s also exciting.

We’re rolling out dozens of new digital products. We’ve even started taking out patents for the first time on a new technology we are developing.

But the pace of change creates new complexity for businesses. Organizations -big and small- are trying to figure out how to get ahead of the changes and understand the technologies that can help them.

In a post COVID environment, where everyone is a buyer and a seller, and a consumer and vendor at the same time, businesses need a trusted partner in their digital transformation journey in order to help provide end-to-end solutions, implement real-time capabilities for processing transactions and information at scale, gain transparency on transactions, grow their business by having ecosystem linkages connecting them to their buyers or suppliers and all this while, protecting customer data.

It’s a monumental task, but one that HSBC is well-positioned for. We were already deeply invested in digital and real-time payment infrastructure before the pandemic, and we’ve stepped up the pace and scale of our digital transformation in the months since it hit.

We’ve been working with regulators and investing in Real-Time Payment platforms available in 12 markets across Asia and APIs. We’ve built applications that help businesses make and collect real-time payments easily and efficiently. This enables companies to quickly transition from a physical to a digital storefront.

When COVID struck, we were able to use our digital payments expertise to help our clients adapt quickly.

Take KPJ, a Malaysian healthcare company. When the pandemic hit in 2020, KPJ became one of the private hospitals approved to conduct COVID-19 testing in Malaysia.

As social distancing practices and movement restrictions set in, KPJ needed to establish safer payment options for patients. Leveraging Malaysia’s national real-time payment service, DuitNow, HSBC helped KPJ implement a payment option that enabled real-time, instant, and contactless payments from a patient’s bank using the QR code.

Also, HSBC is helping the delivery service Foodpanda to revolutionize the way it pays its workers. Today, a Foodpanda rider can use the company’s app to get paid instantly after finishing a delivery shift.

That’s money earned straight into their digital pocket, ready to go back into the community and create growth.

Real-Time payments volumes were up 90 percent year-on-year in the first eight months of 2021 and we expect this trend to continue over the next couple of years. So we’re pushing on with cutting-edge payments innovations as we move into a post-COVID world.

Our challenge is to make them faster, cheaper, and even more secure. Payments now are digital, on-demand, and real-time. By improving the way cash flows into the economy, we’re contributing to growth and prosperity. This is the future. And it’s now.

Thank you.

BEYOND Virtual kicks off on November 9th with ‘What’s Next?’ from global industry leaders & investors