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Singapore SMEs are the top exporters in APAC: FedEx

  • Digital platforms drove export revenues for many Singapore SMEs, with 78% using e-commerce, 65% using social commerce, and 57% using mobile commerce.
  • The most widely-adopted digital solutions by SMEs here were software automation (74%), mobile payments (62%), and big data/advanced analytics (59%).
  • The biggest considerations for Singapore SMEs on whether to go global were customs procedures (52%), logistics (44%), and foreign currency exchange issues (42%).

Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore were the top exporters by revenue in APAC last year, as revealed by a research study commissioned by FedEx Express.

According to the research conducted by Harris Interactive and entitled Global is the New Local: The Changing International Trade Patterns of Small Businesses in Asia Pacific, Singapore SMEs generated the highest average annual exporting revenue at US$1.75 million (S$2.32m), which accounted for nine in every 10 dollars of overall revenue.

This was ahead of the US$1.21 million average recorded across Asia-Pacific (APAC) countries.  SMEs in Singapore are also ahead of the curve in regards to intra-regional exports with 78% of SMEs exporting to other markets in the APAC region. This is ahead of the regional average of 70%.

The independent study also showed that the thriving digital economy in Singapore continues to drive business growth among SMEs in the country.  Digital platforms have emerged as a key driver of export revenue for many SMEs, with 78% using e-commerce, 65% using social commerce, and 57% using mobile commerce. And the trend is anticipated to continue, as there is optimism among SMEs leveraging e-commerce for increased revenue growth across all three channels within the next 12 months — 54% for e-commerce, 55% for mobile commerce, and 55% for social commerce.

New digital solutions were seen to boost SME export growth in Singapore, with software automation (74%), mobile payments (62%), and big data/advanced analytics (59%) representing the most widely-adopted technologies.

Almost two-thirds (63%) of local SMEs indicated that their main motivation for adopting these technologies is to drive efficiencies in supply chain and distribution channels for business growth.  Non-users are also increasingly recognising the value of Industry 4.0 technologies, with almost two-thirds of local SMEs looking to adopt software automation (32%) and mobile payments (30%) within the next 12 months.

“Cross-border trade continues to flourish in Singapore, with mobile and social commerce platforms making access to international markets easier than ever,” said Audrey Cheong, managing director, FedEx Express Singapore.  “For that growth to continue, SMEs must continue to remain agile in seeking out new innovations to ensure a strong supply chain from end to end.”

Even as more SMEs in Singapore look towards international trade, many feel that this is becoming increasingly challenging.  The top three considerations about whether to export among Singapore SMEs centered around customs procedures (52%), logistics (44%), and foreign currency exchange issues (42%). Additionally, the consensus is that logistics providers have the opportunity to provide more to support for SMEs.

“As a company committed to helping SMEs go global, there are significant opportunities for us to continue growing our expertise, scale, and network to support the increasingly-sophisticated requirements of our customers,” said Cheong.

Global is the New Local: The Changing International Trade Patterns of Small Businesses in Asia Pacific was conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of FedEx to provide insights into global exporting trends and challenges faced by SMEs.  Conducted between March and April 2018, the results are based on interviews with 506 senior executives from Singapore SMEs, among a total of 4,543 across 9 markets in Asia Pacific.

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