4 in 5 Singapore firms expanded overseas in 2017

71% have operations in at least one ASEAN country.

More Singapore companies have expanded their international footprint in 2017, with 83% of businesses currently engaged in overseas business activities, up from 56% in 2016, the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) revealed.

According to their National Business Survey, ASEAN is the key focus region, with 71% of local businesses operating in at least one ASEAN country. Half of the companies surveyed are also keen to expand further into ASEAN, especially those that are already doing business in the region.

The study also found that 93% of businesses require more help understanding compliance, regulations and standards in overseas markets.

Nine in ten also need more information on taxation rules in other countries, whilst 89% struggle with sourcing relevant local contacts in overseas markets.

About 84% also said they wish they had better partnerships with overseas local firms.

Meanwhile, business sentiments have improved significantly in 2017.

Nearly two in five businesses at 36% are satisfied with the current business climate here, whilst 68% of companies responded that business conditions have either improved or remained the same over the past 12 months, with the outlook for the next 12 months looking better.

In terms of business priorities for 2018, revenue growth ranked first at 68% and cost-cutting next at 44%.

As for the key challenges that businesses are facing, hiring people with the right skills and attitude emerged as the top challenge at 72% and cost of operations was ranked next at 58%. 

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