More SMEs expanding overseas

PHOTO: More SMEs expanding overseas
Above photo is A man climbing up scaffolding at a construction site in Yangon. Myanmar’s political and economic reforms present opportunities for SMEs to enter Asia’s last frontier economy.

Two-Tthirds of SMEs in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Greater China are doing business outside of their home markets.

Of this group, nine out of 10 are focused on Asean and China, a recent survey by OCBC Bank showed.

The bank added that it has seen a four-fold increase in the number of its SME customers expanding in the region in the past two years.

These customers have focused on China, Malaysia and Indonesia, OCBC said.

The latest destination in the spotlight is Myanmar.

OCBC's head of global commercial banking Linus Goh said: "Myanmar's political and economic reforms present opportunities for entry into Asia's last frontier economy."

"Given the economic and trade links between Myanmar and Singapore businesses, Singapore SMEs are well placed to tap the significant potential of the Myanmar market."

The bank recently led a group of SME customers to explore business opportunities in Myanmar.

They met businesses in construction, property development, infrastructure, transportation, shipping, and hospitality.

Samwoh Corporation's managing director Elvin Koh, who was on the trip, said: "Being able to be up close and personal with the owners and senior management of large Myanmar companies is very important for us in understanding the business environment and finding the right business connections."

Samwoh is in the construction and manufacturing industry.

Another participant on the trip, Mr Lawrence Leow, executive chairman of property, hospitality and technology player Crescendas Group said: "We are now looking into the possibility of investing into the hospitality industry there."