70% of medium enterprises in Asia opt to make operations more flexible post-Covid, says Standard Chartered

A survey by Standard Chartered has revealed that over 70 percent of medium enterprises in Asia prioritises making their operations more agile and flexible to support business growth, compared to before the outbreak.

The need to ensure resilience in their operating model ranked above the relevance of using technology as a differentiator from competitors (63 percent) and providing more value-added solutions to customers (61 percent).

Credit: Standard Chartered

Respondents from Malaysia however indicated that the need to be more risk-conscious (73 percent) outweighed that of making their operations more agile and flexible (69 percent) ahead of the desire to use technology to differentiate from competitors (65 percent).

“Due to limitations around financing support as well as uncertainties about the end-consumer demand, mid-sized corporates are often more vulnerable to disruptions compared to their larger counterparts,” said Jiten Arora, Global Head of Commercial Banking, Standard Chartered.

“Despite these challenges, there is an opportunity for new profitable growth if these businesses can use their size to their advantage and be nimbler in innovating and transforming their ways of working to become more resilient,” Jiten added.

The survey which was conducted with decision makers from more than 200 mid-sized corporates across mainland China, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia and Singapore, highlighted the vulnerability of these businesses due to Covid-19.

Over 60 percent had indicated a 20 to 50 percent reduction in monthly revenues. More than half foresee that it will take at least six to 12 months to recover from the impact.

In Malaysia, 50 percent of respondents indicated a 20 to 50 percent reduction in monthly revenues, and 62 percent foreseeing that it will take at least six to 12 months to recover from the impact of Covid-19.

Standard Chartered is also developing a series of six points-of-view articles that will offer insights anchored around a four-stage framework of immediate response, preservation and stability, preparing for growth and lastly, the goal of maintaining resilience and driving profitability.

The articles will also focus on potential issues and challenges faced by mid-sized corporates as reflected from the survey, including regulatory, finance and working capital management, manufacturing and supply chain as well as driving efficiencies through digitalisation.



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