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Half of Singapore SMEs have overseas revenue: IE Singapore

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MORE small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore are expanding overseas to seek sustainable revenue growth, this year's DP SME Development Survey has found - PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

MORE small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore are expanding overseas to seek sustainable revenue growth, this year's DP SME Development Survey has found.

The proportion of Singapore SMEs with overseas revenue increased in 2014 to half, after having declined last year to 46 per cent from 54 per cent in 2012.

This year's increase was seen across all turnover ranges - an indication that SMEs of all sizes are looking beyond Singapore for growth opportunities.

Said Jacelyn Teo, the group director for planning in International Enterprise (IE) Singapore: "Internationalisation is increasingly seen as a growth strategy for many SMEs facing rising cost and manpower pressures domestically. Mitigating these constraints by expanding overseas will enhance the sustainability and profitability of our local enterprises."

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The survey identified the top South-east Asian markets for SMEs as Malaysia (64 per cent), Indonesia (44 per cent), Thailand (35 per cent), Vietnam (27 per cent), the Philippines (23 per cent) and Myanmar (17 per cent).

With the region's rising middle class, growing consumerism, and rapid urbanisation, opportunities abound for SMEs across various sectors; these include urban solutions, F&B, education and health-care services.

The survey findings released on Tuesday also showed that SMEs are also adopting different strategies as they venture into new markets.

Said IE Singapore: "The number of SMEs whose main mode of overseas engagement is export of goods and services has fallen across most sectors. More SMEs in the retail sector now work through overseas distributors, an indication of the importance of local networks and localisation. On the other hand, those in the construction and IT sectors are now seeking overseas alliances as a mode of growth."

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