SMEs in the Asia-Pacific region

30 April 2018

Recently a survey of small businesses in the Asia-Pacific region showed growing optimism for the future. We have chosen two articles on the findings of this survey. The first article looks at the business confidence and growth indicators across small businesses in the Asia-Pacific, while the second focuses on how New Zealand SMEs can improve their business growth by adopting similar strategies to successful small businesses in the region.

Small business owners in the Asia-Pacific feeling optimistic: survey

SMEs in the Asia-Pacific region are feeling optimistic as they successfully adopt to the digital era. Specifically, those that focus on innovation, technology and exports are growing at a faster rate than others. The Asia-Pacific Small Business Survey showed growing optimism and strong growth, especially in Indonesia and Vietnam, while New Zealand and Singapore showed weakest growth. Business confidence was also highest in Vietnam, Indonesia and Mainland China. This growth can be attributed to three factors, with the use of social media or e-commerce being one of them. This strategy is highly utilised in Indonesia, Vietnam and mainland China, while New Zealand and Australia are lagging behind, despite a strong link between business growth and technology such as digital payment. Innovation and exports also remain the key drivers of future growth for small businesses in the region. Innovation includes the introduction of new services or products, or the adaptation of a new process – something New Zealand and Australian small businesses are also lagging behind on. The key barriers for small business growth include increasing staff and rental costs (creating high levels of debt), growing competition and cybersecurity threats. The survey, however, showed a positive outlook for 2018 for businesses that utilise technology, innovation and exporting.

Read the full article on the In the Black website.

NZ SMEs lag behind Asia-Pacific peers on digital tech

As shown in the survey, New Zealand SMEs lag behind other Asia-Pacific companies (excluding Australia) in terms of adopting digital technologies to grow their business. Unlike others in the region, New Zealand small businesses are less willing to use e-commerce to sell their products and services, less likely to offer customers digital payment options and are second lowest in terms of product innovation and export sales. There is also lower business confidence due to a change in government late last year. While New Zealand SMEs show better growth than those in Australia and Singapore, much more can be achieved with the use of social media to reach more consumers, as well as the use of artificial intelligence, digital products, the Internet of Things and e-commerce, according to a report by Microsoft Corporation. This means that more New Zealand small businesses need to engage in digitally transforming themselves and focusing on innovation and export growth in order to reap the benefits and create competitive advantages for themselves within the Asia-Pacific region.

Read the full article on the NZ Scoop website.

Other articles in this edition of Asia Echo: