By Dr. Karen M. Reddington, president, FedEx Express Asia Pacific
Asia is on the verge of a transformation.
The digital economy is so fundamentally changing how we work and live that tomorrow’s Asia will likely bear little resemblance to the region we see today.
Nowhere is this more evident than in small businesses’ enthusiasm for intra-Asia trade, which is helping to define the region’s future growth.
While global trade is here to stay, a recent FedEx-commissioned research underlines that small- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) are more upbeat about their regional growth prospects, than inter-regional expansion.
While Asia Pacific SMEs already derive two thirds of their revenue from exports in general, almost half of them predict an average double-digit growth of 20 percent in intra-Asia export revenue in the year ahead (1).
In addition, Asia Pacific SMEs also generate the highest level of revenue from intra-regional exports among the four global regions in the study (2).
This is good news. It shows SMEs’ appetite for regional expansion is only growing, even as intense debate about the benefits of international trade continues. It also underscores how the ability of SMEs to compete on the regional stage is only accelerating, thanks to stronger Asia Pacific ties and trade linkages.
This can be explained partly by the boom in e-commerce, and it also suggests momentum around two growing trends – m-commerce purchases made using mobile devices, and social commerce purchases made via social media platforms.
Almost 70 percent of SMEs in the region are currently selling their products via mobile platforms, and a similar number offer customers the option of buying via social media platforms such as Facebook (3).
In many ways, there’s never been more reason to be optimistic about the road ahead for Asia Pacific’s small business leaders. Despite many challenges, industry fundamentals paint a bright picture – a perspective backed by latest Asian Development Bank (ADB) research that shows intra-Asia trade now accounts for 57 percent of total trade in the region (4).
Winning consistently in the emerging and dynamic digital economy can be tough for many SMEs, but the message for the future couldn’t be clearer: Intra-regional trade is a winner for Asia Pacific’s small business leaders.
For more global findings and tips from the Harris SME Export Research, click here to watch the video.
1 “Global Trade in the Digital Economy: Opportunities for Small Businesses”, a commissioned research study conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of FedEx, September 2016
2 “Global Trade in the Digital Economy: Opportunities for Small Businesses”, a commissioned research study conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of FedEx, September 2016
3 “Global Trade in the Digital Economy: Opportunities for Small Businesses”, a commissioned research study conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of FedEx, September 2016
4 “Asian Economic Integration Report 2016”, Asian Development Bank (ADB), December 2016
Karen Reddington is President of Asia Pacific Division of FedEx Express, the world’s largest express transportation company. In this role, which Dr. Reddington took up in January 2015, she heads up Asia Pacific from its headquarters in Hong Kong. The Asia Pacific Division comprises three regions: North Pacific, based in Tokyo; China, based in Shanghai; and South Pacific, based in Singapore. Dr. Reddington is responsible for leading the FedEx business across the region, including overall planning and implementation of corporate strategies and operations across 30 countries and territories with more than 18,000 employees.