The Public Opinion Programme (POP) was established in June 1991 to collect and study public opinion on topics which could be of interest to academics, journalists, policy-makers, and the general public. POP was at first under the Social Sciences Research Centre, a unit under the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Hong Kong, and was transferred to the Journalism and Media Studies Centre in the University of Hong Kong in May 2000. In January 2002, it was transferred back to the Faculty of Social Sciences in the University of Hong Kong. Since its establishment, POP has been providing quality survey services to a wide range of public and private organizations, provided that they allow the POP Team to design and conduct the research independently. POP also insists that the findings should be open for public consumption at some point in future.

In April 2008, the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited ("HSBC") commissioned the POP Team to conduct a survey on local small and medium enterprises ("SMEs"), mainly to understand the impact of recent economic factors on their businesses. Specifically, this survey looked into the impacts caused by the US slowdown, their corresponding remedies as well as their expectation on their industries in the next 12 months.

The research instrument used in this study was designed by the POP Team after consulting HSBC, whilst fieldwork operations and data analysis were also conducted independently by the POP Team, without interference from any outside party. In other words, POP was given full autonomy to design and conduct the survey, and POP would take full responsibility for all the findings reported herewith.