PwC head: Changing landscape, workforce retention amongst TMT industry issues
Industry leader Wilson Chow mentioned companies need to set up proper systems and controls to be compliant in risk management.
Wilson Chow heads PwC’s global technology, media and telecommunications (TMT) industry practice. He is also the TMT industry leader for the firm’s Mainland China and Hong Kong practices.
With emerging technologies and digital deployment redefining all industries and businesses and leading to rapid growth and developments of the TMT industry, Chow has been leading and supporting the PwC global network across all lines of service—Assurance, Tax- and Advisory—to provide one-stop professional solutions and services to companies in the TMT industry, as well as to clients looking to reinvent themselves through digital transformation.
He is a practising member of the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Accountants, China Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. He is also an adviser to the Internet Advertising Board of Hong Kong.
Chow believes that PwC’s purpose of “building trust in society and solving important problems” is the key in the era of transformation, where they continue to help their clients to deliver sustained outcomes and reimagine growth under the new normal.
Being one of the judges for this year’s Asian Technology Excellence Awards, Chow advised companies and professionals to stay curious and try to learn new things, especially on new technology and innovations. He added that they also need to be inquisitive and try to understand the root causes of an issue.
What led you to focus on the TMT industry as a finance professional? As you rose in your career, what experience/s made a deep impact on you that continues to guide your work?
I started my PwC career in Shenzhen in 2003, witnessing the tremendous growth and potential of many of the tech companies in China. I have been leading our professional teams to offer one-stop services and solutions to various TMT companies based in China, ranging from start-ups and unicorns, to listed companies. In 2015, I was appointed as the TMT industry leader of PwC Mainland China and Hong Kong, and afterwards, taking on a global role as the global TMT industry leader in 2017.
I currently chair and lead a global industry programme with the objective of connecting our subject matter experts from different territories, sharing best practices and industry insights, as well as assisting our clients in providing trust-related assurance services and other advisory and consulting services. PwC’s purpose of “building trust in society and solving important problems” is the key in the era of transformation, where we continue to help our clients to deliver sustained outcomes and reimagine growth under the new normal.
As the telecommunications industry moves toward digital transformation, what will distinguish one organisation from another to stand out in the market?
The digitisation transformation can be achieved in two streams, both internal and external.
For internal transformation, telecommunications industry players are migrating their systems and processes to digital platforms so that the humongous volume of data processed by them could be analysed effectively with business insights. Digitalisation also helps the telecommunications players to be more cost-efficient.
For external transformation, telecommunication players have been actively engaged in offering integrated digital solutions to their customers such as cloud and other SaaS and PaaS services.
In order to distinguish themselves from the others, they should deploy state-of-art technology and they may form partnerships or alliances with other corporations to offer a B2B2X type of business model in order to capture the market upside.
What challenges do the technology, media and entertainment, and telecommunications industries face today? How will they overcome these challenges?
The challenges faced by players in the TMT industry are constantly changing regulations which would affect their operations and expansion; disruptions caused by the evolution and advancement of new technologies; difficulties in retaining a strong workforce.
In order to overcome these challenges, TMT companies are required to stay close to the regulators and policymakers in order to understand the implications of any newly promulgated rules such as ESG, cyber security, data privacy, and anti-trust, amongst others. They also need to set up proper systems and controls in order to be compliant in risk management. They also have to continuously invest in their R&D capabilities to enable the companies to get hold of the newest technologies and assess their impact. In addition, TMT companies should transform their workforce to be inclusive and diversified so as to promote healthy work harmony amongst the employees.
What emerging technologies are redefining industries and businesses?
The successful establishment of the 5G mobile telecommunication network has also paved a solid foundation and a catalyst for many emerging technologies such as AI, VR/AR, Robotics, IoT, and others. This will give rise to new use cases and create new business models from monetising consumer data patterns; therefore, more and more consumer data will be generated from these activities. There is a need to properly capture, process and maintain such data.
We expect that there will be a strong driving force behind the development of enterprise solution types of digitisation technologies and other advancements in online/mobile technologies to enhance the consumer experience in e-commerce and other online/mobile entertainment businesses.
The rise of Web3.0 technology which supports the Metaverse initiatives is believed to open doors to the next level of industry developments. The immersive consumer experience to be offered by the Metaverse can create new use cases and business models for corporations to monetise their products and services.
What can you advise young finance professionals and students that will guide their careers?
I borrow the quote that young finance professionals should “Stay Hungry and Stay Foolish.” They should not be complacent with what they have learned but they should try to learn new things, especially about new technology and innovations. They also need to be inquisitive and try to understand the root causes of an issue and also think 360 degrees on what could be the feasible solutions to resolve an issue.
Last of all, given the Chinese government has been putting a lot of effort in promoting the economy of the Greater Bay Area and the Yangtze River Delta, young finance professionals should seize the chance to work in these two regions so as to capture the possible upside from the developments.