Very few Singapore SMEs have plans to expand overseas – QBE

Many small and medium businesses plan to stay in Singapore, and most are inadequately equipped for the future

Very few Singapore SMEs have plans to expand overseas – QBE

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

Only 14% of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore have expressed interest in expanding beyond its shores, while almost half had no interest at all, a survey by insurer QBE has revealed.

The survey, which encompassed 400 SMEs, showed that 45% have no interest in expanding overseas. For smaller businesses, the figure is even higher – at 46%.

According to 42% of those who did not want to expand abroad, lack of funds was the main barrier. Meanwhile, 38% said that unfamiliarity with foreign markets was the top hindrance. Other reasons cited were high competition in overseas markets, regulatory and legal issues, and political instability.

QBE suggested that the lack of interest in overseas expansion may be due to the positive prospects of the Singaporean economy, meaning that many business owners believe that they could attain their growth targets within the Lion City. This was supported by the finding that around 50% of respondents believe that Singapore’s economy will improve in the next 12 months, while only 24% think it will worsen.

Digitalisation appears to be an important concern for SMEs, with around 95% of businesses surveyed saying that they are currently using or planning to invest in various digital technologies.

However, several barriers to digitalisation are also present. Almost half (48%) of SMEs with online business processes reported the high cost of investment, while 39% said that their staff lack the knowledge needed to successfully utilise digital technologies.

Meanwhile, knowledge about cybersecurity was low among SME owners, with only 25% of respondents considering data security an important concern. A further 25% of small businesses said that they had no cyber protection in place.

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Cyberattack reports are simply the ‘tip of the iceberg’ says QBE
SMEs are likely targets for cyber breaches - Chubb

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