Asia-Pacific small business survey

Content Summary

2020-21 results

Our 12th annual Asia-Pacific small business survey found that while 2020 was a tough year for many of the region’s small businesses, there are signs of confidence returning in 2021.

Survey results by market 

When Australia’s small businesses invest in technology, the short-term impact on profitability is significantly lower than their peers in Asia. Investing in technology in 2019 improved profitability by 18.8 per cent for Australian small businesses.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, 44 per cent of small businesses in Hong Kong sought external funds to remain afloat.

Small business conditions were positive in India in 2019. More than three quarters of respondents stated their business grew, which was higher than the survey average of 65.8 per cent and well above developed markets such as Australia.

The survey found many Indonesian small businesses entered the COVID-19 crisis in good financial shape, with nearly 90 per cent reporting growth in 2019. This is the second highest result of the 11 markets surveyed. Also, more than a third of Indonesia’s small businesses reported growth, the best result of the market survey.

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

Many of Malaysia’s small businesses reported both reasonably strong finances and the use of digital technology in 2019. These businesses are well-placed to manage through COVID-19 and to recover fairly quickly.

There is a technology gap between small business in New Zealand and Asia. This is likely to have contributed towards these businesses reporting lower growth. This may have contributed towards New Zealand’s small business sector being amongst the least likely to increase employee numbers in 2019.

Conditions were very positive for small businesses in the Philippines in 2019 with more than eight in 10 (83 per cent) reporting growth. This is the third highest result of the survey, only behind Vietnam and Indonesia, and well above the survey average of 65.8 per cent.

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 existing customers and open new opportunities.

The performance of Taiwan’s small businesses in 2019 was generally positive, although slightly weaker than in 2018.

Like Malaysia, many of Vietnam’s small businesses reported both strong finances and digital technology use in 2019. This means they are better placed to recover from the COVID-19 crisis than other small businesses across the Asia Pacific region.

Survey overviews

Hong Kong 2019-20
PDF · 803.2 KB
Malaysia 2019-20
PDF · 2.2 MB
Singapore 2019-20
PDF · 853.5 KB

Previous results

CPA Australia has conducted this survey annually since 2009.

PDF · 1.7 MB
PDF · 2 MB
PDF · 1.6 MB
PDF · 2.9 MB
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PDF · 2.5 MB
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