09 November 2017

Mid Market Enterprises 2017 - Unlocking the Growth Potential

The MME sector in Singapore

1.1 Overview

We estimate that there were around 1,200 MMEs in Singapore. These MMEs are estimated to have supported sales of $171 billion and $58 billion in Gross Value Added (GVA). MMEs also employed 550,000 people, equivalent to 17% of market sector1 employment.

Between 2012 and 2014, the GVA contribution of MMEs increased by 11%, which was slightly faster than the rate achieved for the overall market economy over this period. MME employment rose by 8% from 2012 to 2014, in line with employment in the overall market economy.

MMEs in the manufacturing sector play an important role in the Singaporean economy, accounting for almost one-third of the GVA produced by the entire MME sector in 2014.

This was followed by MMEs in the business and financial services sectors, which accounted for a further 19% and 15% of MME GVA, respectively. In terms of employment, the manufacturing and business services sectors ranked at the top once again, this time followed by the construction industry.

In addition to the GVA and employment MMEs generate directly, the sector supports wider activity elsewhere in the Singaporean economy through supply chain and consumption multiplier impacts. We estimate that the total economic footprint of the MME sector in terms of GVA was $90 billion once these multiplier effects are included. This was equivalent to 30% of market sector GVA in that year. The total number of jobs supported, including through supply chain and consumption effects, was 900,000 (29% of total market sector employment).

Based on their industrial structure, we estimate that MMEs in Singapore are closely involved in international trade. We estimate that 50% of sales by Singaporean MMEs were exporte, primarily to other Asian economies and the US. We estimate that the total value of exports of Singapore MMEs in 2014 was almost $90 billion. MMEs in Singapore imported just over half of their supply chain purchases. The US and China are the most important trading partners for imports.

The latest estimates relate to 2014, the most recent year for which consistent source data are available for many of the countries.


Scale of Singapore MME


Scale of Singapore MME


Scale of Singapore MME


Singapore MME openness to trade


Singapore MME outlook


1.4 Insights from MME decision-makers in Singapore

Survey of 1400 senior MME executives was conducted between July and August 2017

1.4.1 Confidence and outlook

MMEs in Singapore are more confident in the global economy (64%, vs. 58% total) and their local economy (80% vs. 69%), compared to all respondents.

Singapore’s MMEs report and forecast similar revenue growth and profit margins to the global average.


Singapore MME outlook


1.4.2 Market opportunities and threats

Compared with global survey respondents, Singapore’s MMEs see:

  • More threat from domestic economic (60% vs. 55%) and political (27% vs. 23%) uncertainty.
  • Less technological disruption of their industries (40% vs.52%).
  • Easier access to export markets (42% vs. 36%).
  • More business opportunities as barriers to entry come down (54% vs. 47%).
  • Less of a threat from smaller companies (29% vs. 41%).
  • Only 50% of Singapore MMEs state they are confident in their strategies (vs. 65%), the lowest of all countries.


Singapore MME opportunities


Singapore MME strength and weakness


1.4.3 MME strategies and investment priorities, next three years

Compared with global survey respondents, Singapore’s MMEs forecast:

  • Revenue growth driving improved financial performance. New international markets will be the top contributor for 13% (vs. 11% total).
  • Top strategies to support export growth include improving customer intelligence (34% vs. 37%), but also opening a local sales office (15% vs. 12%) and joint ventures (15% vs. 9%).
  • Priorities for investment will be improving understanding of market shifts (74% vs. 68%) and improving the management of day-to-day operations (66% vs. 55%).


The study was commissioned by HSBC Holdings plc and conducted by Oxford Economics.

This report is reproduced with the permission of HSBC Holdings plc.

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