Micro-Revolution: The New Stakeholders of Trade in APAC

AlphaBeta research assesses the digital opportunity
for small businesses in the Asia Pacific.

Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) are the economic backbone of the Asia Pacific, accounting for more than 97 percent of firms and employing more than half of all workers in the region. They are also at the heart of Asia Pacific’s trade with the world. The region’s most enterprising MSMEs have already adopted a global mindset and harness the power of digital technology to expand overseas. However, many others have yet to tap the export opportunity.

A new report by the Asia Pacific MSME Trade Coalition, a group representing MSMEs in Asia, analyses how new digital tools – from search engines and online bookkeeping software to cloud computing and freight sensors – can substantially lower export hurdles and costs for small businesses.

The research, which was supported by AlphaBeta, finds that digital technology can reduce export costs of an average MSME in the Asia Pacific by up to 82 percent.

It also aims to give MSMEs a voice in the ongoing debate on regulating the digital economy, which is heavily skewed towards large multinational corporations. The report highlights the risk of digital trade rules being discussed or built without smaller enterprises in mind, and possibly undermining the substantial global trade opportunity for Asia’s MSMEs.

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