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Globalisation is set to supercharge growth in 2022, with sustainability and supply chain investment high on the agenda of leading firms.

This is no hypothesis: this is straight from the source. HSBC Navigator* has received the results of our 2021 on the ground survey of businesses around the world. We wanted to know the appetite for expanding into new markets, hopes and fears around supply chains.

We asked more than 7,300 business leaders across 14 markets what they were thinking, feeling, and planning right now for the year ahead and the response is loud and clear: 90 percent predicted a return to growth, and internationalisation is a core strategy. They are optimistic. But also, they’re facing challenges.

Almost nine in ten businesses (87 percent) expect to experience a lasting impact from Covid-19 with nearly 40 percent indicating a resurgence of the virus as the main threat to their growth – a sentiment felt most strongly across Asia Pacific markets.

Similarly, we are all too aware of supply chain issues and it seems that businesses are facing ongoing difficulties, as 71 percent of businesses anticipate supply chain disruptions and expect this to threaten revenue growth. As almost three in four businesses (73 percent) predict delays in the movement of goods and services in the next year, 58 percent of companies foresee greater difficulty in international trade as a result.

The answer? It seems businesses are investing more in their supply chains, thinking past what they clearly see as temporary issues and into the long term. Leading businesses are taking extra care in determining who they can rely on and judging future partners on sustainability metrics. Further investment is on the agenda for new technology and digital tools, too, with a third of corporate leaders globally focusing funds in that area.

Overall, although they face challenges, leading businesses have a plan. They recognise that retaining and investing in international markets, supply chains and technology remain core elements for growth – and they are overwhelmingly positive about the future.

*Note: HSBC’s Navigator 2021 report is a global survey gauging business sentiment and expectations on trade activity and business growth from 7300 decision makers around the world. You can read the full Trade Navigator report at

This is an extract of the chapter. You can buy a print copy of the handbook here or a digital copy here

Cathy Parker

Experience of Governance and management corporate and private companies. Sectors include media, automotive, leasing and engineering. Experience in Business building via acquisition and organic growth and directing a business in a VUCA environment. Strong interest and knowledge in IT, digital industries, media, sales, technology and management. Regular writer in business and automotive area.

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