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FedEx report: Micro-business boom in APAC

Micro-multinational businesses in the Asia Pacific are experiencing a business boom, according to new FedEx research.

Its study shows that 63 per cent of these businesses are achieving annual revenue growth, a success rate achieved by only half of small- to medium-size enterprises (SMEs).

A previous study last year revealed the greater potential for business growth among SMEs that export goods to overseas markets compared to those that do not. Taken together, the two studies underscore the business benefits of export markets generally, either through simple exports or, like the micro-multinationals in the latest study, by establishing a more direct presence.

Conducted in September by Harris Interactive for FedEx Express, the study examined trends and characteristics among micro-multinationals, a subset of SMEs that either set up with a presence in multiple markets, or leverage online business platforms and the increased openness of the global economy to expand into overseas markets.

Another key finding was that APAC micro-multinationals have a marked preference for markets within the region. Other APAC markets make up six of the top eight overseas markets targeted by APAC micro-multinationals, with China topping the list of markets with a micro-multinational presence.

“We’ve long believed that businesses don’t need to be big to be global, and this study confirms that small businesses that have established a presence in other markets are seeing this strategy pay off substantially,” says FedEx Express Asia Pacific president Karen Reddington.

“Asia Pacific micro-multinationals have overwhelmingly chosen to set up in other Asia Pacific markets, strengthening regional interconnectivity and driving growth in the intra-Asia trade corridor, the world’s fastest-growing international trade lane. This will translate into job creation, a more efficient pipeline for goods and services and, ultimately, economic growth across the region.”

As well as accelerated growth opportunities, APAC micro-multinationals believe their presence in multiple markets provides other advantages unavailable to SMEs in a single market. These include access to lower-cost workers (46 per cent), lower overheads (37 per cent) and the availability of different skill sets (36 per cent).

Also, 63 per cent of micro-multinationals say that running a business in multiple markets is easier than it would have been even five years ago, while 19 per cent do not even believe this would have been possible for them then.

Harris Interactive used a mix of telephone and online interviews to survey 595 senior decision-makers in micro-multinational companies (companies with 1-249 employees based in more than one country). The research covered 12 global markets across four regions.

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