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The ASEAN integration urges SMEs to level up and adapt

to changes, as the demand increases for higher quality of

products and regional competition becomes stiffer, says
PLDT First Vice President and Head of SME Business Kat
Luna-Abelarde. The diversity, however, will provide them
the freedom and creativity to develop new products and
services that can potentially spur economic growth within
their local economies and the ASEAN economy as a

On top of harnessing the benefits of a single ASEAN
market, SMEs should also understand their crucial impact
to the local and regional economy. For one, they are
considered the main drivers of the economic landscape for
most of the ASEAN countries, as they account for more
than 90 percent of business enterprises throughout the
region, and employ between 50 to 99 percent of its
respective countrys workforce.

In the Philippines, they represent 99.6 percent of the
operating business enterprises, generating up to 32
percent of the countrys Gross Domestic Product. This
highlights the role that they play in providing jobs for the
local and regional workforce, which translates to more
income for their own businesses and local economies.