Digitization & Globalization for the Little Players: The View from Thai SMEs
Proceedings of the 43rd Annual Macromarketing Conference, Leipzig, Germany. 10-13 July, 2018, pp. 743-763
13 Pages Posted: 20 Aug 2018
Date Written: July 10, 2018
ASEAN aims to build an integrated digital economy, which, in theory, will bring substantial benefits to companies in the region. However, not all companies may benefit equally from the dual trends of digitization and globalization. This paper investigates how Thai SMEs feel about their prospects in e-ASEAN, focusing on six areas: technology & R&D; competition policy; legal framework; incentives & investment subsidies for adoption; financial issues, payment, tax framework; and developing know-how to compete in e-ASEAN. We also asked SMEs about how competitive they felt they were, and about whether they felt current government policy helps or hurts them. An online survey using the Thai Small Business Association lists returned only 27 usable questionnaires in the first wave reported here, but this was sufficient to identify two distinct groups. One group is confident in their competitiveness, and generally feel they are doing well in all the six areas examined. These companies have very favorable attitudes toward current government policy. The second group is pessimistic about their competitiveness, do not have as positive views about their abilities across the six areas, and do not think government policy is helping. The results clearly indicate that as e-ASEAN moves forward, one-size-fits-all policy will not work. Policy needs to account for different segments of the small business community if it aims to improve opportunities for all SMEs.
Keywords: SMEs, digitization, globalization, competitiveness, government policy, e-ASEAN, Thailand
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