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This priority applies even to small businesses that face cash flow concerns, the United Overseas Bank (UOB) and Dun & Bradstreet said in a joint release on July 1.
The release cited findings from a survey by the UOB, Accenture and Dun & Bradstreet in the third quarter of 2019 and in May 2020, which polled 1,000 small businesses with an annual turnover of 20 million USD and below in five countries - Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
Technology was ranked the top investment priority for 2020 by 64 percent of businesses surveyed, followed by investments in developing employees' skills (51 percent), and in machinery or equipment (40 percent).
Among the five countries polled, Thailand had the highest proportion (71 percent) of respondents prioritising technology investments this year, followed by Indonesia (65 percent), Vietnam (63 percent), Singapore (60 percent) and Malaysia (59 percent).
Besides, small businesses from the food and beverage, information and communications technology and healthcare sectors (50 percent) indicated the strongest desire to boost their technology investments, followed by those in construction (48 percent) and retail trade (46 percent).
Although 88 percent of businesses had lowered their revenue expectations in 2020, 44 percent said they still planned to increase their overall technology budget.
This suggests that small businesses in Southeast Asia are looking beyond the present challenges and are set on adopting technology to improve their competitiveness and sustainability, according to the release.