Majority Of Malaysian SMEs Seek Opportunities In International Trade With APAC Region, Report Highlights

According to a survey, titled ‘Levelling Up the Logistics Strategy for SMEs in Malaysia’ by FedEx Express and SME Association of Malaysia, the majority of Malaysian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are seeking opportunities in international trade within the Asia Pacific (APAC) region, especially within Southeast Asia and East Asian markets such as China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan.

Survey respondents also identified other markets of interest including those in Europe, the Middle East and the Americas.  

More than half (58%) of the respondents indicated they are looking at expanding their business presence, while the remaining respondents (42%) remain cautious, indicating business expansions are not on their cards.

Over half (54%) cited sustaining sales as their key priority for the first half of the year, amid the continued impact of the pandemic. One-third (34%) of SMEs want to focus on enhancing operational efficiencies so that their businesses remain sustainable and operational costs are optimised.

The remaining SMEs (12%) will adopt a wait-and-see approach in view of the changing business environment.

“Our joint survey with SME Association of Malaysia showcases valuable insights into the current mindset and intent of small to medium businesses in Malaysia. We at FedEx Malaysia are already adapting and digitizing with agility to better support these businesses in scaling up cross-border commerce capabilities. As an essential service provider, FedEx has operated throughout lockdowns, prioritising our customers’ recovery and e-commerce growth. We are committed to help minimise disruptions to their supply chains, in and outside of Malaysia,” said SC Chong, Managing Director of FedEx Express Malaysia. 

Commenting on the survey results, Ding Hong Sing, President of the SME Association of Malaysia, said, “Malaysian SMEs are shifting focus to markets within the APAC region, with intra-Asia trade burgeoning because of rising e-commerce transactions, driven by the COVID-19 pandemic. For SMEs looking to expand their market outreach, there is a prevailing optimism despite the current intense competition in the e-commerce marketplace, economic uncertainty and government restrictions being introduced. We believe that there are pockets of opportunities present within the e-commerce sector which will continue to experience an upward trajectory.”

Conducted at the end of 2021, the joint survey saw participation from 383 Malaysian SMEs, with the majority of them recording up to RM10 million in turnover in 2021.

Over 70% of the companies registered an average of 200 shipments per month last year through e-commerce activities, utilising a mix of logistics services to ship via air and land. 

In addition to this joint survey, both entities have collaboratively rolled out the SME Alliance programme which provides e-commerce logistics solutions to SMEs looking to level up their international shipments.

This strategic alliance offers various benefits and privileges for members of the SME Association of Malaysia throughout the year. For more information, please visit  


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