When Businesses Are Born Global
Asia’s SMEs are no longer limited to local opportunities. For many, product demand on the other side of the globe is a true measure of success.
But the rise of social commerce and online retail has made the world smaller and far-away markets more accessible. Many of today’s small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are leapfrogging the domestic-first mentality and targeting international consumers from the very start.
Typically helmed by younger founders who are well-travelled digital natives, these SMEs have identified customer niches remotely, and can target and profile audiences from thousands of miles away.
Today’s SMEs are born global
Global exports have become more valuable too: the average annual revenue generated by exports beyond the region was US$641,000 in 2018; 13% higher than the comparable average value of exports within the region.
Looking for opportunities
The United States has long been seen as the world’s biggest economy but it’s also a highly competitive market that attracts the big players. SMEs are now better than ever at spotting under-served niche areas where larger competitors have yet to enter, making Central and South Asia a natural draw for them.
At the same time, import patterns are reflecting a similar shift toward globalization. Almost half (46%) of APAC SMEs are sourcing beyond domestic markets. Of these, 68% import from within APAC, while 62% import from other regions, up from just 26% in 2015.
This trend is set to continue growing exponentially. Savvy SMEs have learned that importing from other markets helps reduce their production costs and increase end-product quality. Technology continues to empower a borderless world, and online retail has become a necessity, not a luxury. APAC SMEs are increasingly enabled to grow their networks globally and source both suppliers and customers virtually.
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 “Global is the New Local: The Changing International Trade Patterns of Small Businesses in Asia Pacific”, a commissioned research study conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of FedEx Express, July 2018.