Asia-Pacific Small Business

We have an ongoing commitment to investigating and reporting on issues of importance to small business. Many of our members own or work for or advise small businesses. Through the small business survey, we aim to provide research to inform the decisions of small business owners, advisers to small business and policy makers.

2019-20 RESULTS

Over the past 11 years, CPA Australia has surveyed over 27,000 small businesses across the Asia-Pacific and CPA Australia’s 2019/20 Asia-Pacific Small Business Survey found that overall, small business conditions were slightly weaker in 2019 than in 2018. The survey finds that the internal factors most likely to assist small businesses recover quickly from the impacts of COVID-19 and set them on a path for future growth are greater use of technology, increasing online sales, a focus on innovation, improving customer satisfaction and improvements in business strategy.

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Survey results by market



When Australia’s small businesses do invest in technology, they are significantly less likely than small businesses from Asia to have found the investment increased their profitability in the short-term, with 18.8 per cent stating their investment in technology in 2019 improved their profitability.

Market summary 2019-20

Hong Kong

44 per cent of small businesses in Hong Kong sought external funds for survival before COVID-19 pandemic.

Market summary 2019-20


Small business conditions were positive in India in 2019, with over three quarters (75.5 per cent) of respondents stating their business grew, higher than the survey average of 65.8 per cent and well above developed markets such as Australia.

Market summary 2019-20


The survey found that many Indonesian small businesses entered the current COVID-19 crisis in good financial shape, with nearly nine-in-ten reporting that they grew in 2019, the second highest result of the 11 markets surveyed. Further, just over one third of Indonesia’s small businesses grew strongly, the best result of the markets surveyed.

Market summary 2019-20

Mainland China

Mainland China’s small business sector’s strong focus on technology and digital capabilities places it in a good position to recover comparatively quickly from the impacts of COVID-19.

Market summary 2019-20


With many of Malaysia’s small businesses reporting both reasonably strong finances and usage of digital technology in 2019, they are well-placed to manage through the COVID-19 crisis and to recover fairly quickly.

Market summary 2019-20

New Zealand

The technology gap between small business in New Zealand and Asia is likely to have contributed towards New Zealand’s small businesses reporting lower growth than their peers in the region. This may have likely contributed towards New Zealand’s small business sector being one of the least likely to have increased employee numbers in 2019.

Market summary 2019-20


Conditions were very positive for small businesses in the Philippines in 2019, with more than eight in ten (83 per cent) reporting that they grew. This is the third highest result of the markets surveyed, only behind Vietnam and Indonesia, and well above the survey average of 65.8 per cent.

Market summary 2019-20


With COVID-19 reshaping the way people live, work and consume, small enterprises in Singapore could boost their business recovery prospects by building technology capabilities to better reach their customers and potential customers.

Market summary 2019-20


The performance of Taiwan’s small businesses in 2019 was generally positive although slightly weaker than in 2018, with 53.2 per cent stating that their business grew in 2019, compared with 57.1 per cent in 2018.

Market summary 2019-20


With many of Vietnam’s small businesses reporting both strong finances and usage of digital technology in 2019, they are better placed than many other small businesses across the Asia Pacific region to manage through the COVID-19 crisis.

Market summary 2019-20

Previous survey results

2018 (PDF) | 2017 (PDF) | 2016 (PDF) | 2015 (PDF) | 2014 (PDF) | 2013 (PDF) | 2012 (PDF) | 2011 (PDF) | 2010 (PDF) | 2009 (PDF)