Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of Southeast Asia’s economy as they are critical for economic growth and contribute ~45 percent of Nominal GDP. Technology platforms and ecommerce marketplaces are rapidly proliferating across the region and the vibrant digital ecosystem brings together many of the largest global platforms as well as innovative and fast-growing start-ups native to the region. As digitalisation changes daily life for many millions of people, including how they shop, work, communicate, and consume news and entertainment, the revolutionary ability of global ecommerce platforms to dramatically expand the export opportunities of SMEs cannot be overlooked. Today, we published a new report that details how small online businesses across six Southeast Asia countries – Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam - are using the eBay ecommerce marketplace to successfully sell to consumers in hundreds of export markets each year, contributing to important national efforts to use exports by SMEs to help bring balanced and inclusive economic growth.
Our research reveals that regionally, 99 percent of eBay-enabled small businesses are exporters, compared to roughly 11 percent of traditional businesses, and reach an average of 25 international destination markets on an annual basis. Looking at global reach, nearly 65 percent of the region’s eBay-enabled small business community sell to shoppers on four or more continents. Our exporting data also reveals that eBay is empowering Southeast Asia’s SMEs to robustly export to several of the world’s most valuable consumer markets that are otherwise underrepresented in the exports of each country’s traditional business communities. Opening these valuable consumer markets to exports by local SMEs will help promote growth by allowing them to reach outside the region, diversify sales, and capture global opportunities.
The report also features numerous stories and testimonials of eBay sellers in the region, such as Mr. Itti Nana, who resides in Thailand and is the owner of Souppy. Mr. Nana, who also goes by “Soup”, started his eBay business in 2017 and specialises in football trading cards. Raised by a real footballer, Soup is also an enthusiastic memorabilia collector and owns several autographed jerseys from renowned players including Pele and Diego Maradona, and even a signed pair of Cristiano Ronaldo’s boots. As trading cards have become one of the most popular items on eBay, Soup has received orders from customers across the globe, including China, the United States, and Canada.
Finally, the report examines the phenomenon of new enterprise creation and establishment, a key indicator of business and economic dynamism. Among all the eBay-enabled small businesses in the six regional markets in 2020, 70 percent were newcomers, and more than half were newcomers in each of the six countries. The eBay marketplace provides a level playing field, which triggers such an effect by indiscriminately facilitating market entry and participation.
Moving forward, the region is exceptionally well-positioned to capitalize on the export economy and opportunities created by global ecommerce platforms given its logistical advantage, diverse talent pool, strengths of its economic sectors, and wealth of unique inventory. The economic environment remains as highly competitive as ever, owing to business owners and their unrelenting entrepreneurial spirits to strive. The figures in our new report are a powerful testament to how the eBay marketplace bridges distance for small businesses and provides access to markets that were unreachable through the traditional model of trade. This exporting success of the rapidly growing and digitally proficient small businesses across Southeast Asia is a reflection of eBay’s commitment to connect people and build communities to create economic opportunities for all.
Read the full report here.