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Malaysian small businesses confidence highest since 2012

[ 12-05-2019 ]
Malaysian small businesses confidence highest since 2012
An SME expo showcasing the products

An SME expo showcasing the products

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's small business sector experienced positive business conditions in 2018 and confidence in business and economic growth is at its highest point since 2012, according to new survey data released today by CPA Australia.

The findings from CPA Australia's 10th annual Asia-Pacific Small Business Survey follow extensive surveying of over 3,600 small business operators in Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Philippines, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.

CPA Australia Malaysia Country Head Priya Terumalay says the survey results show that there has been a positive shift in sentiment among Malaysia's small businesses that reflects the sector's continued focus on drivers of growth.

"Malaysia's small business sector has had a strong 12 months, with 65.5 per cent of respondents reporting that they grew over this period.

"Looking to 2019, the results are even more positive, with three quarters of small businesses expecting to grow this year," she said.

The positive shift in sentiment is also reflected in small business confidence in Malaysia's economy, with nearly 70 per cent (69.1 per cent) expecting Malaysia's economy to grow, much higher than expectations for 2018, when 53.7 per cent expected the economy to grow.

In a period of global economic uncertainty, this upturn in small business confidence in Malaysia is a vote of confidence in the nation's economic direction.

"It is not surprising to us that we are seeing an improvement in small business confidence in Malaysia. Throughout the 10 years this survey has run, Malaysia's small businesses have shown they typically have a focus on factors that are linked to long-term growth, including innovation, e-commerce and  technology. 

"They also show they have a strong focus on positive influences of growth such as improved customer satisfaction, attracting and retaining good staff and improved business strategy," said Priya.  

"Small businesses from Malaysia continue to be relatively strong users of digital technologies, particularly in comparison to their competitors from Australia, Singapore and New Zealand. Over 40 per cent of Malaysian businesses surveyed (43.4 per cent) earned more than 10 per cent of their income from online sales. 

An overwhelming majority use social media for business purposes, with 45.1 per cent stating that they use it to sell their products or services.  

"There is a relatively strong focus on innovation among Malaysia's small businesses, with 29.3 per cent stating that they will innovate in 2019, beating the survey average of 20.8 per cent. The Malaysian government has done much to encourage a culture of innovation and entrepreneurialism, with policy developments.

"The positive outlook of Malaysia's small business sector is translating into jobs, with more than a quarter (25.7 per cent) stating that they added staff in 2018 and are likely to be even stronger creators of jobs in 2019, with 45.1 per cent expecting to add staff.

"Global trade war concerns are impacting Malaysian small businesses, with over a third (33.6 per cent) expecting that this issue should have a negative impact on their business in 2019, close to the survey average of 34.7 per cent. 

However, for some of Malaysia's small businesses, a trade conflict could create opportunities, with 22 per cent stating that they expect a trade war to have a positive impact on their business.

"We expect that the positive business conditions experienced by Malaysia's small businesses in 2018 will continue into 2019, with small businesses remaining focused on innovation, e-commerce and technology," Priya said.

CPA Australia is one of the world's largest accounting bodies with more than 164,000 members working in 150 countries and regions around the world, and with more than 25,000 members working in senior leadership positions. It has established a strong membership base of more than 10,000 in Malaysia. - Bernama
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