Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore were the top exporters by revenue in the Asia-Pacific last year, according to a study commissioned by FedEx Express, the Business Times reported.
Local SMEs generated an average annual exporting revenue of US$1.75 million, ahead of the US$1.21 million average recorded across countries in the Asia-Pacific.
The FedEx Express study was conducted between March and April 2018, with results based on interviews with 506 senior executives from Singapore SMEs, among a total of 4,543 across nine markets in the Asia-Pacific.
As for intra-regional exports, Singapore also led the pack with 78% exporting to other markets within the Asia-Pacific. The regional average was 70%.
New challenges ahead
The study also found that the digital economy continued to drive business growth of SMEs in Singapore. Some 78% of SMEs used e-commerce to boost export revenue, while 65% used social commerce. More than half, or 57%, used mobile commerce.
This trend is expected to continue, with growing optimism among SMEs to leverage on the digital economy through these three channels within the next 12 months.
However, despite the fact that more SMEs are looking towards international trade, the outlook is becoming increasingly challenging, the study noted.
Remaining agile is key for SMEs
The top three obstacles they face in exports come from customs procedures, cited by 52% of respondents; logistics, mentioned by 44% of respondents; and foreign currency exchange issues, mentioned by 42% of respondents.
FedEx Express Singapore managing director, Audrey Cheong noted: “Cross-border trade continues to flourish in Singapore, with mobile and social commerce platforms making access to international markets much easier than ever.
“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.”
Nol van Fenema