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FedEx Research Shows Hong Kong SMEs Continue to Expand Their Global Footprint

More Than 70% of Hong Kong SMEs Are Exporting Globally and Expect to Grow Under the Thriving Digital Economy

August 9, 2018

HONG KONG, August 8, 2018 — Recent research commissioned by FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) and the world’s largest express transportation company, reveals that Hong Kong small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are exporting as much within Asia Pacific as they are to other regions.  More than 70% of these SMEs are now engaging in exports, a significant increase over the past three years.

The study also shows that emerging industry 4.0 technologies and the thriving digital economy, including e-commerce, mobile-commerce and social commerce, are key factors driving the growth of SMEs as well as helping SMEs overcome challenges in this highly competitive environment.

“Local SMEs are facing a rapidly-changing business environment,” said Anthony Leung, managing director, FedEx Express, Hong Kong and Macau.   “We are pleased to see that local SMEs are increasingly expanding their global footprint and are generating more revenues from exports.  FedEx Express is committed to supporting businesses going global, and as one of the main logistics providers in Hong Kong, we will continue to support SMEs with the right resources and tools to meet their needs.”

 

Exports accounting for total revenues of Hong Kong SMEs have increased over the past two years

According to the research, exports now account for 88% of the total revenues of Hong Kong SMEs, which is equivalent to HK$11.278 million and higher than the Asia Pacific average of HK$9.415 million[1].  The total export revenues of Hong Kong SMEs have increased by 24% (HK$9.056 million) over the last two years. China (52%), Taiwan (37%) and Japan (30%) are the top export markets among Hong Kong SMEs in the Asia-Pacific region, whereas Europe and Central/South Asia are the top export markets outside the Asia-Pacific region.

 

Hong Kong SMEs expect to increase their exports and imports over the next 12 months

            More than one third, or 39%, of Hong Kong SMEs expect their exports in Asia Pacific to increase in the next 12 months, while 32% of them expect their exports outside of Asia Pacific to increase in the next 12 months.  The optimism of the SMEs is driven by the strong growth of the global economy, especially the fast-growing economies in the Asia-Pacific region.

Some 30% of Hong Kong SMEs expect to increase their imports in the next 12 months.  Also, 55% of Hong Kong SMEs agree imports will help them lower their production costs by sourcing goods overseas at a lower cost, while more than 40% of them agree imports will help them improve the variety and quality of their products.

 

Customs procedures and currency exchange remain the biggest challenges

Hong Kong SMEs are facing various operational challenges in expanding their business globally.  More than 50% of Hong Kong SMEs agree customs procedures and currency exchange issues are their biggest challenges.

 

Social commerce is changing the SME business landscape

Most Hong Kong SMEs are already using e-commerce (87%) and mobile-commerce (79%) to source goods and find new customers outside of Hong Kong.  The research shows that more SMEs are leveraging the power of social media in expanding their businesses.  An overwhelming 8 out of 10 SMEs are now using social media, with more than half (52%) using this channel to export their products or services to overseas customers.  Up to 26% of total revenues of SMEs are generated from social commerce, with 57% of them expecting to grow their businesses from social commerce over the next 12 months.

 

SMEs are harnessing new technologies to improve supply chain and distribution channel efficiencies

In addition, SMEs are harnessing new technologies to grow their businesses, with 62% of them agreeing that new technologies will help improve their supply chain and distribution channel efficiencies.  Among current users, automation software (80%), mobile payments (72%) and big data analytics (71%) are the top technologies SMEs are deploying. They also expect to increase the usage of mobile payments (62%), big data analytics (59%) and 3D printing (52%) in the future.

 

About the Research Study

The independent study, entitled “Global is the New Local: The Changing International Trade Patterns of Small Businesses in Asia Pacific”, was conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of FedEx Express to offer insights into import and export opportunities and challenges facing SMEs.  The results are based on interviews with 4,543 senior executives of SMEs conducted online or by telephone in nine markets in Asia Pacific between March and April 2018.  The markets included in the research were Mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam.  Interviews were split equally by market with a representative mix of company sizes: micro (1-9 full-time employees), small (10-49 full-time employees) and medium (50-249 full-time employees).  The sample size was approximately 500 respondents per market.

[1] The research covers nine Asia Pacific markets, including mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam.

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