Singapore SMEs are top exporters in Asia-Pacific: FedEx survey

Small and medium-sized enterprises in Singapore were the top exporters by revenue in the Asia-Pacific in 2017, generating an annual exporting revenue of US$1.75 million. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - 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.

SMEs here generated an average annual exporting revenue of US$1.75 million (S$2.38 million), ahead of the US$1.21 million average recorded across countries in the Asia-Pacific.

With regard to intra-regional exports, Singapore also led the pack with 78 per cent exporting to other markets within the Asia-Pacific. The regional average was 70 per cent.

The study found that the digital economy continued to drive business growth of SMEs in Singapore. Some 78 per cent of SMEs used e-commerce to boost export revenue, while 65 per cent used social commerce. More than half (57 per cent) used mobile commerce.

This trend is expected to continue, with growing optimism among SMEs to leverage the digital economy through these three channels within the next 12 months.

But even as more SMEs look towards international trade, many also felt that the outlook is becoming increasingly challenging.

The top three obstacles that they face in exports come from customs procedures (52 per cent), logistics (44 per cent) and foreign currency exchange issues (42 per cent).

Audrey Cheong, FedEx Express Singapore managing director, 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."

The 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.

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