Technology boosting PH SMEs' competitiveness: survey

By Joann Villanueva

August 31, 2018, 9:55 am

MANILA -- Adaptation by Philippine-based small and medium enterprises (SMEs) is high and this gives them a big advantage to be at par with the best in the world.

Results of the survey “Global is the New Local: The Changing International Trade Patterns of Small Businesses in Asia Pacific” commissioned by FedEx Express in nine Asia Pacific (APAC) countries and conducted from March to April 2018 showed that 81 percent of around 500 domestic SME players use emerging technology to improve supply chains and distribution channels.

In a briefing Thursday, FedEd Express Philippines Managing Director John Peterson said the survey indicated that software automation and mobile payments are the widely used technologies in the country.

Use of these innovations allows small businesses that are part of the study to increase their revenues as they improve their products, among others.

On average, exports account for 89 percent of the surveyed small enterprises’ total annual revenue.

Bulk or 56 percent of these exports are within the APAC region while 44 percent is accounted for by those outside APAC.

Outside APAC, Philippine SMEs’ major export destinations are the US and India, the survey showed.

Asked for their outlook on revenues, 56 percent of the exporter-respondents said they expect their revenues to increase for trade within APAC while 67 percent are optimistic of higher revenues from outside APAC.

For those that are into importation, the survey showed that 59 percent prefer to source their materials locally while those that buy overseas source it primarily from China, Japan, Singapore and India.

Raw materials and finished products registered the highest rating, at 46 percent each, in terms of the types of goods that local SME import.

Components came in third at 30 percent, followed by professional services, 28 percent; designs, 21 percent; and others, three percent.

Asked for reasons for importing goods, the respondents said better materials allow them to increase the quality of their products.

Peterson said the level of adaptation of technology among Philippine-based SMEs is not questionable since Filipinos are known for their tech-savviness.

He said there are more Filipinos who have access to these technologies than those who have bank accounts.

Survey results showed that 95 percent of the respondents use social commerce, with 76 percent using this to find customers overseas.

Peterson said Philippine-based SMEs’ desire to expand their market is the main reason they adapt to these technological innovations.

“And I think the research data show that Philippine SMEs are embracing technology and making sure that they stay competitive on the global marketplace,” he said.

Compared to SMEs from other APAC countries, Peterson said local businesses “places very high among SMEs using technologies".

“Philippine SMEs are embracing technology so it’s giving them now a level playing field,” he added. (PNA)