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Southeast Asia top growth market for APAC region—FedEx

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FedEx Express (FedEx), a subsidiary of FedEx Corp. and one of the world’s largest express transportation companies, on Friday released findings from its latest research report showing that 68 percent of respondents see the greatest potential for growth in Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia.

The survey was 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.

It identified growth opportunities for small businesses as well as challenges to international cross-border commerce. It 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.

Economic growth, cultural affinities and improving regional trade deals are fueling optimism around ASEAN markets, according to the report.

Around 88 percent 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 America.

Challenges remain for truly realizing cross-border opportunities even within the APAC region.

Half of the respondents cited complex customs requirements and documentation as their primary hurdles ahead of finding new customers (45 percent) and finding partners or suppliers in global markets (42 percent), when asked about barriers to international expansion.

Those surveyed said that with limited in-house trade compliance expertise, navigating different customs regulations across markets remains complicated.

“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, FedEx Express president of Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa region.

“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,” he said.

Ross Gagnon, Forbes Insights executive director of research, said “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.”


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