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Learn how AIBP can help your business expand into ASEAN

Our 2020 AIBP ASEAN Enterprise Digital Transformation Survey, where 664 enterprise stakeholders from Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam gave their inputs revealed that 73% of the local enterprises expect an increase in their organisation’s investments in digital technology in 2021. A large majority of respondents (65%) identified big data analytics as a technology they are planning to invest in over the next 2-4 years. IoT (44%), AI (34%) and RPA (33%) are priorities as well.

39.9% (34.8% in 2019) of respondents surveyed in 2020 have implemented some form of digital transformation within their companies. Only 6.5% (8.7% in 2019) have not yet embarked on digital transformation initiatives.

Local firms should seek opportunities beyond Singapore
According to Enterprise Singapore (ESG), the number of Singapore firms expanding overseas in 2020 has fallen by 38% to 1,600, which was expected due to travel curbs in place.

Those that kept on pursuing internationalisation, did as such in various ways, for example, taking part in virtual trade fairs and online networking events. They also market and sell their products and solutions on e-commerce platforms.

ESG’s CEO Png Cheong Boon said that these digital platforms helped build up the business presence in the overseas markets despite the global travel restrictions. Southeast Asia stayed as one of the top markets that local businesses were interested in, he added.

Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said the pandemic has emphasised the limitations of Singapore’s small domestic market and the importance of venturing abroad. 

Support for Singapore firms to go overseas

The government agencies have put in place support packages and resources to help local businesses embark on their internationalisation journey.

Aside from tax deductions on eligible costs brought about to help their internationalisation activities, businesses also receive generous funding support (up to 70% of costs) through the Market Readiness Assistance (MRA) scheme.

Enterprise Singapore is offering eligible Singapore SMEs companies the following support:
Up to 70% of eligible costs, capped at S$100,000 per company per new market from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2023 that covers:

• Overseas market promotion (capped at S$20,000)
• Overseas business development (capped at S$50,000)
• Overseas market set-up (capped at S$30,000)

As announced at Budget 2021, the maximum support level of up to 80% will be extended for 6 months, until 31 March 2022. MRA will also be enhanced to include Trade Credit Insurance (TCI) as a supportable area under the overseas market set-up pillar with effect from 1 April 2021.