HSBC survey forecasts local,
— The emerging markets of Viet
Nam and India
are the most optimistic across a wide set of key indicators of a recent survey
by the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corp
The Asia-Pacific Small Business Confidence Survey, conducted for HSBC by
research company TNS in the fourth quarter of 2007, covered 2,700 SMEs in Hong
Kong, mainland China, Taiwan, Singapore, India, Viet Nam, Korea, Malaysia and
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Asia remain positive about prospects
for Asia’s economic growth and trade activity
this year, say the results.
Companies were asked about their local economic outlook for the next six
months, their plans to increase or reduce capital investment and staffing
levels, as well as their expectations about trade volumes with mainland China, the rest of Asia
and the rest of the world.
Margaret Leung, HSBC’s Global Co-head of Commercial Banking, said: "The
fact that the vast majority of SMEs expect economic growth to continue in 2008
is a testament to the resilience of the SME sector. In the face of growing
economic uncertainty in the US, emerging markets still see great opportunity
for growth, as intra-Asian trade grows and the small business sector is
learning to adapt quickly to changing global conditions.
"As the banker to these businesses, HSBC is excited to be part of this
SMEs sit pretty
Viet Nam SMEs were the most optimistic in the region, followed by those in India and mainland China. More than two-thirds of SMEs
in Viet Nam
surveyed said they expect the economy to grow more than 4 per cent in 2008. An
overwhelming majority, 90 per cent, expect the economy to grow at a faster pace
while only a mere 1 per cent expect the pace to slow down.
Capital investment plans
SMEs in Viet Nam and India are
acting on their positive economic outlook with increased capital investment in
the first half of 2008. Three – quarters of the Viet Nam SMEs plan to increase
their current expenditure levels. Hong Kong SMEs are more cautious: 61 per cent
plan to maintain the same level of capital expenditure as last year and 26 per
cent plan to increase investment.
While 72 per cent of SMEs across Asia plan to maintain current staffing
levels, in Viet Nam,
59 per cent are planning to hire more workers. 41 per cent expect to maintain
the same, and none will cut jobs. SMEs that engage in cross-border trade were
asked about their expectations of trade volumes with mainland China, the rest of Asia
and the rest of the world. Viet Nam
and India SMEs are the most optimistic about trade growth with mainland China, trade with the rest of Asia
as well as with the rest of the world.
In Viet Nam,
impressively, almost four-fifths expect trade to grow. Among the positive 78
per cent, 38 per cent believe trade volume with mainland China will grow
by over 20 per cent. Growth expectations in trading
activities with the rest of Asia and the rest of the world is somewhat
similar to each other and to that with China. Only a very small minority
(4 per cent) expect trade volume to decrease this year in each of the three
economy saw strong GDP growth by a cumulative average rate of 7 per cent over
the past decade and peaked at a record high 8.44 per cent in 2007. In the past
year alone, we have seen nothing short of a sea change in terms of policies as
a result of market liberalisation," said Huynh Buu Quang, Senior Vice
President, Head of Commercial Banking, HSBC Viet Nam.
"Given these supporting factors, the country’s SMEs are becoming more
and more active to catch all the golden opportunities offered by the second
fastest growing economy in the region. The 290,000 SMEs in Viet Nam
represent considerable collective economic might and their optimism bodes well
for local economy as a whole," he added.
"HSBC Commercial Banking shares the
aspirations of SMEs to grow and succeed domestically and internationally and we
have the expertise and network to support that. It’s heartening to see that
SMEs are looking to the year ahead with confidence." — VNS