Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa (AMEA)

Hong Kong Micro-Multinationals Among Most Global-minded in the World

Their Multi-Market Strategy is Paying Dividends, According to a New Global Study


HONG KONG, February 3, 2016 — Hong Kong micro-multinationals harbor international ambitions from the start, according to a new global research study. More than half (54%) of Hong Kong micro-multinationals describe themselves as “international”, far more than the global and regional averages of 40% and 39% respectively. Meanwhile, 67% of them expanded into other markets within five years or less of being set up, compared to the global and regional averages of 56% and 55%. In fact, 64% of the city’s micro-multinationals had an international presence from inception, a much higher proportion than the 38% of their global and regional counterparts that are “born global”.

Commissioned by FedEx Express (FedEx), a subsidiary of FedEx Corp. (NYSE:FDX) and the world’s largest express transportation company, the research study was conducted by Harris Interactive in September 2015. It examines trends and characteristics among micro-multinationals – a subset of small- to medium-size enterprises (SMEs) that either have a presence in multiple markets from the start, or leverage online business platforms and the increased openness of the global economy to expand into overseas markets[1].

The study reveals that business is booming for micro-multinationals, with 58% of Hong Kong micro-multinationals currently achieving annual revenue growth, compared to 53% of SMEs as a whole. Not only do micro-multinationals outperform their peers, they can stand the test of time: 68% have been established for more than 10 years, above the global and regional averages of 55% and 61% respectively. They are also bullish about their international operating model, with 79% believing it is easier to operate across multiple markets now than it was five years ago.

“Today, global access matters more than the size of a business, as the rise of micro-multinationals proves,” said Anthony Leung, managing director, FedEx Express, Hong Kong and Macau. “The success of these small businesses depends on access to international markets, and the logistics industry has a vital role to play. We are helping them connect to the world, not only with fast and reliable logistics, but also by providing deep expertise in trade regulations and supply chain management.”

When it comes to operating internationally, logistics plays an important role. In Hong Kong, 68% of micro-multinationals point to their logistics service providers as important in helping them run their international business successfully. In addition, they rank superior logistics systems (43%) among the top three factors that make multi-market operation possible. Other factors they cited include greater export opportunities (46%) and elimination of trade barriers (43%).

About the research study: Micro-multinationals & Cross-Border Growth

Harris Interactive used a mix of telephone and online interview methodologies to conduct interviews with 595 senior decision-makers in micro-multinational companies, which are generally defined as companies with 1-249 employees and based in more than one country. The research was conducted in 12 global markets across four regions: Asia Pacific (China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan), Europe (France, Germany and the U.K.), Latin America (Brazil and Colombia) and Middle East, Indian Sub-Continent and Africa (India).

[1] The Lisbon Council, “The Rise of the Micro-Multinational” by Ann Mettler and Anthony D. Williams, 2011.