ASEAN SMEs urged to grab opportunities to broaden network

By Zairina Zainudin

KUALA LUMPUR, March 23 (PNA/Bernama) — Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in ASEAN member states have been urged to look at all possible opportunities in the region in order to broaden their network and significantly contribute to the growth of the region as a whole.

In making the call, SME Corp Malaysia Chairman Tan Sri Ir (Dr) Mohamed Al-Amin Abdul Majid said SMEs play a pivotal role as the engine of growth in all economies of ASEAN.

He said SMEs should be fully prepared ahead of the formation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), which aims to increase the international competitiveness of the 10 member nations and make the ASEAN region an attractive investment location.

“The population of ASEAN is over 600 million people and the business potential throughout the region is huge, ranging from all manufacturing, services and other sectors,” he told Bernama in an interview.

In 2013, ASEAN’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 5.1 per cent to USD 2.4 trillion (USD 1 = RM3.71) with GDP per capita at USD 3,837.

The region attracted a total of USD 122.38 trillion foreign direct investment during the year against USD 114.28 trillion in 2012.

Mohamed Al-Amin urged SMEs to participate in international-level events, including at the upcoming ASEAN SME Showcase and Conference (ASSC) 2015, which would enable them to establish business relations and enhance their understanding of rules and regulations for doing business in ASEAN member countries.

“This is an excellent avenue for knowledge and experience exchange, a lesson in business practices and good governance.

“We can also emulate success stories and learn from other people’s failures as well,” he said, adding ASSC 2015 would help contribute further to ASEAN- and non-ASEAN economies going forward.

The event, to be hosted in Malaysia on May 26-28 by SME Corp, will provide the ASEAN SME community vast trading and networking opportunities and feature six plenary sessions involving more than 1,000 entrepreneurs, industry leaders and innovators. (PNA/Bernama)