Associated Press

Singapore, January 11:

China’s small companies were voted the most competitive in Asia by regional business owners, outranking those from Hong Kong and Japan, according to a business survey released today.

Chinese small businesses, defined as having less than 250 employees and turnover of under $40 million per year, were ranked first by 73 per cent of respondents in the UPS Asia Business Monitor survey.

Firms from Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan were also considered relatively competitive, while Philippine and Indonesian small businesses ranked the least competitive.

The study, commissioned by the parcel delivery company and prepared by research agency Taylor Nelson Sofres, surveyed 1,200 business owners and managers in 12 Asian economies between August 16 and September 28. It wasn’t immediately clear why the results weren’t released sooner.

Business leaders in China were less enthusiastic about their own standing, ranking small companies in Hong Kong, Japan, Korea and Taiwan above their own. Commenting on the results, Patrick Turner, director of the International Centre of Entrepreneurship, INSEAD, said that it will be difficult for regional businesses to compete with China on a ‘pure price level.’

“But you can rely on other areas like customer service and dependability, for example, improving the quality of your product,” Turner said.

Responses were mixed about China’s emergence as a manufacturing centre for the world.

Some 43 per cent of business leaders saw that as a positive development, while 27 per cent saw a negative impact, 17 per cent saw both positive and negative aspects, and 12 per cent saw neither.