Southeast Asia Emerges as Top Growth Market for APAC Region, According to New FedEx Survey

FedEx Express (FedEx), a subsidiary of FedEx
Corp. (NYSE: FDX) and one of the world’s largest express transportation companies, today
released findings from its latest research report conducted in partnership with Forbes Insights,
which aimed to identify key international growth trends for small and medium sized enterprises
(SMEs) in the Asia Pacific region over the next three years. The survey identified growth
opportunities for small businesses as well as challenges to international cross-border

The survey polled 250 small and mid-sized business leaders, including founders and C-
suite executives, across a range of industry sectors in the Asia Pacific region.
A key finding was that 68% of respondents see the greatest potential for growth in
Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia. Economic growth, cultural
affinities and improving regional trade deals are fuelling optimism around ASEAN markets
according to the report. While 88% of those surveyed said that they were planning customer
base expansions globally over the next three years, APAC business leaders find it harder to do
business with partners, suppliers, and customers in markets like Europe and North and South

Challenges remain for truly realizing cross-border opportunities even within the APAC
region. When asked about barriers to international expansion, half of the respondents cited
complex customs requirements and documentation as their primary hurdles ahead of finding
new customers (45%) and finding partners or suppliers in global markets (42%). With limited in-
house trade compliance expertise, navigating different customs regulations across markets
remains complicated, according to those surveyed.

Our data shows that economic headwinds and global competition are seen as the most
pressing business challenges for Asia’s SMEs today. Southeast Asian markets are currently
growing faster than in many other parts of the world, so it makes sense for them to focus on
intra-Asia trade,” said Kawal Preet, president of Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa region, FedEx
Express. “Yet there remains work to do in surmounting barriers to entry into international
markets despite the rising number of regional and bilateral trade agreements. Understanding
how to navigate complex customs regulations is where expert partners like FedEx can add
value allowing SMEs to concentrate on their core strengths,

According to Ross Gagnon, Executive Director of Research, Forbes Insights, "the
findings provide valuable insights into high-growth areas and the continuing barriers facing
export-driven SMEs. Collaborations focused on unlocking border compliance and bridging
digital divides will be key to realizing their international ambitions.

Enhancing the customer experience was the most highly ranked business priority for
SMEs (57%). While small businesses typically invest only 5% of total revenue of annual IT
budget on digital transaction capabilities, digital technology was seen as instrumental in tackling
customer experience challenges by applying analytics, machine learning, AI, real-time tracking
and visibility solutions and technology training to upskill employees. Although the potential of
technology is clear, nearly three quarters (71%) of respondents stated that developing or
implementing digital strategy was their biggest challenge, followed by mitigating security threats
(65%) and the cost of upgrading existing systems (64%).

“The latest FedEx survey presents valuable insights and opportunities for businesses in the
Philippines to better serve their customers and tap into new markets. As SMEs and e-merchants continue
to build and optimize their capabilities, FedEx remains a trusted logistics provider, delivering innovative
solutions and expertise to enable cross-border growth and success.

With FedEx by their side, Philippine businesses can seize the opportunities of the global marketplace and achieve sustainable growth in the
digital age.” Said Maribeth Espinosa, Managing Director at FedEx Express Philippines.
Where specialized skills and costs are prohibitive, digital transformation can be
simplified by choosing partners that have their own digital tools and platforms they can use or
incorporate into their own.

The full FedEx research report is available at and offers more data on trends
to guide Asian SME strategies for success.