Taiwan SMEs Emerge as Top Exporters Among Their Worldwide Peers

SMEs that Go Global Are More Likely to Achieve Double-Digit Growth


TAIPEI, November 12, 2015 — In Taiwan, 37% of small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) are currently exporting, in line with the regional and global averages of 36% and 38%, according to a new global research study*. On average, these SMEs export more than US$2.8 million worth of goods a year, the largest across the world and far higher than the regional and global averages of US$1.8 million and US$1.5 million. Strikingly, SMEs that export are more than twice as likely to be experiencing growth of 11% or more as opposed to their non-exporting counterparts.

Commissioned by FedEx Express (FedEx), one of the world’s largest express transportation companies and a subsidiary of FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX), the independent research study* was conducted by Harris Interactive to provide insights into global import and export behavior among SMEs and the challenges they face. Completed in September 2015, the study interviewed more than 600 senior executives of Taiwan SMEs, among a total of 6,891 globally in 13 markets[1] including six in Asia Pacific.

“At FedEx, we have been running in front of the global trade scene witnessing one of the biggest revolutions in recent years, and that is the growing emergence of small players in the international marketplace,” said Michael Chu, managing director, FedEx Express, Taiwan. “These small businesses are important in that they have not only become the major driving force of the local and global economies, but also the fuel for growth at FedEx. That is why we always look at ways to better tailor our services – from our worldwide coverage to customs support to integrated solutions – in order to help SMEs thrive internationally.”

While world markets represent a huge opportunity, many SMEs are still hesitant about taking the plunge and branching out into the global arena. Although 52% of SMEs in Taiwan recognize there is a whole world of customers out there, only 37% – a much lower proportion – are currently exporting.

This suggests that, even though SMEs see the potential of exporting, they are not confident in their chances of translating that potential into business success. In fact, they feel held back by certain barriers and a lack of support to overcome them: 86% of the island’s SMEs have encountered barriers while exporting, and just 7% feel that they already have sufficient support to succeed in international markets.

To tackle this confidence gap, logistics plays a critical role. In Taiwan, SMEs surveyed say that logistics service providers are one of their top sources of expertise on exporting. Other sources include information from the Internet and the media, as well as industry trade bodies.

Looking ahead, SMEs are cautiously optimistic about the prospect of exporting internationally despite the perceived barriers today. 45% of Taiwan’s SMEs anticipate they will be doing so by 2020, an 8-percentage-point increase from the current level but slightly lower than the regional and global averages of 52% and 55%. In terms of export destinations, SMEs across all surveyed markets in Asia, including Taiwan, see India as the top market offering the biggest growth potential for export.

* “Global Opportunities: Examining Import and Export Trends Among Small Businesses”, a commissioned research study conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of FedEx, September 2015.

About the research study

Harris Interactive carried out 6,891 interviews with senior executives in SMEs in 13 markets[2] spanning four global regions. Completed in September 2015, interviews were split equally by country with a representative mix of company sizes: micro (1-9 full-time employees), small (10-49 full-time employees) and medium (50-249 full-time employees). The sample size was approximately 500 respondents per market.

[1] Brazil, China, Colombia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Spain and Taiwan

[2] Brazil, China, Colombia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Spain and Taiwan