SINGAPORE (Aug 1): Singapore’s small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are playing a leading role in driving export in Asia Pacific, according to the latest study commissioned by FedEx Express.

Titled Global is the New Local: The Changing International Trade Patterns of Small Businesses in Asia Pacific, the independent research was conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of the express transportation company to offer insights into import and export opportunities as well as challenges faced by SMEs.

Its findings revealed Singapore’s SMEs as the top exporters by revenue in the region last year, generating the highest average annual exporting revenue at US$1.75 million ($2.4 million) – accounting for nine in every 10 US dollars of overall revenue, and ahead of the regional average of US$1.21 million.

The city state’s SMEs also appeared ahead of the curve when it came to intra-regional exports, with higher 78% of Singapore firms exporting to other markets in APAC compared to the regional average of 70%.

In a Wednesday release, FedEx Express attributes Singapore’s advanced SME business growth to its thriving digital economy.

This comes as digital platforms have emerged as a key driver of export revenue for many of the Singapore respondents, with 78% using e-commerce, 65% using social commerce, and 57% using mobile commerce.

FedEx Express anticipates this trend to continue, considering how SMEs across all three channels have indicated optimism in leveraging e-commerce for increased revenue growth within the next 12 months.

The most widely-adopted new digital solutions seen to boost SME export growth in Singapore are, in descending order, software automation (74%), mobile payments (62%) and big data/advanced analytics (59%). The main motivation indicated for adopting these technologies is to drive efficiencies in supply chain and distribution channels for business growth.

Even non-users also appear to be increasingly recognising the value of Industry 4.0 technologies, with nearly two-thirds of surveyed SMEs in Singapore looking to adopt software automation (32%) and mobile payments (30%) within the next 12 months.

“Cross-border trade continues to flourish in Singapore, with mobile and social commerce platforms making access to international markets easier than ever,” comments Audrey Cheong, managing director, FedEx Express Singapore, on the research findings.

“For that growth to continue, SMEs must continue to remain agile in seeking out new innovations to ensure a strong supply chain from end to end,” she adds.