Asia’s growth

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of Asian economies, but they need expanded access to finance and a more varied selection of financial products if they are to benefit from growing trade opportunities offered by the likes of the ASEAN Economic Community. SMEs account for an average of 96% of all enterprises in Asia and employ 62% of workers, yet only contribute 42% of the gross domestic product (GDP) in most countries in the region. At the same time, while SMEs are increasingly a part of complex supply chains, they could—and should—play a much bigger role in their national economies. SMEs have long struggled to get the funding they need to expand and grow, and this situation has been aggravated by the lingering effects of the global financial crisis, prompting banks and other lenders to focus on their core big borrowers. The introduction of Basel III—a new international regulatory framework for banks... —