Making The Connections That Count

DBS is leveraging its presence in key markets in the region to help SMEs in their bid to grow internationally.

SME Growth in a Regional Market

Author: Joyce Tee, Managing Director and Group Head, DBS SME Banking

As the business world becomes more connected than ever before, DBS' regional network has become a key tool for supporting our SME customers in the region.

This has traditionally taken the form of products and services that facilitate cross-border transactions. For instance, DBS PriorityPay is a service that allows our SME customers to carry out faster telegraphic transfers across the six countries in our network - Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, Indonesia and India. There are no cable or telex charges for this service and beneficiaries are credited with the funds within 10 minutes for eligible currencies and corridors.

For businesses that operate in multiple markets, our Multi Currency Account gives them access to 11 foreign currencies and allows them to buy those currencies at preferred rates wherever they are.  The product is currently available to our customers in Taiwan and will soon be available in our other markets in Asia.

Beyond these transactional services, however, we also support SMEs in the region directly by helping them to connect to potential suppliers, customers and advisors across different markets.

Having these connections is critical in borderless world, where each part of a company's supply chain could locate in separate locations to maximise efficiency and contain costs. In the apparels business, for instance, several markets in the region play different but important roles in the industry's ecosystem.

While the export powerhouses of China and India dominate the production of textiles - with Indonesia aiming to join them - more advanced markets like Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore are focusing on R&D as well as acting as sourcing hubs.

Being able to connect with the right partners can be the difference between success and failure for any company looking to expand regionally. DBS BusinessClass is our key platform for facilitating these connections.

DBS BusinessClass connects SMEs to a community of entrepreneurs and business experts through a mobile app and at industry events held in our various markets. Through this platform, SMEs can get advice and insights to help them overcome challenges and grow their businesses, as well as connect to partners across the region.

To access networking opportunities across the region and aims to provide business owners with the advice, insights and connections to build their businesses and sharpen their competitive edge.

In July, BusinessClass held an event in Hong Kong called "Apparel Disrupt: Weaving a new perspective" that provided a forum for industry players to exchange ideas and network.

Earlier in the year, we held our second F&B Disrupt @ The Bay in Singapore, where industry veterans and technology solutions providers shared with participants the innovations reshaping the food and beverage sector.

It also showcased F&B players from around the world that were disrupting the industry, allowing participants to connect with these trailblazers. And in August we kick off our Asian Connectivity series in Taiwan, an initiative that looks at facilitating cross border business dealings.

Beyond industry events, another BusinessClass programme has successfully connected Singapore-based SMEs with regional technology solutions providers to help them with their most pressing challenges.

Since its launch last year, the DBS Techmatch scheme has paired 13 SMEs with tech start-ups that are customising solutions - from low-cost enterprise resource planning systems to customised online sales platforms - for them. One of the beneficiaries of the scheme was Singapore beauty and health products brand Kinohimitsu, which was matched with Thai e-commerce service provider aCommerce to develop a new inventory distribution, management and logistics system.

The above are just some of the efforts that leverage DBS' regional network as we assist our SME customers with their overseas expansion. As technology fuels, even deeper linkages between markets around the world, we will continue to be there to help businesses make the connections they need to thrive.

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