Seminar: Internationalising SMEs: Case Studies from Indonesia and Malaysia



About the Seminar

The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) aims to create an integrated market and production space for its ten member states. This expanded market, in principle, should create opportunities for the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the region to grow within a regional context as a first step towards a global market. The focus on SMEs is not without reason: SMEs constitute between 89-99 % of the firms in ASEAN Member States (AMSs), creating between 52-97% of employment and contributing between 23-58% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 10-30% of exports in the region. However, studies have shown that there is generally low awareness of the AEC and the opportunities accorded by the AEC initiatives. The literature tends to focus on the challenges faced by the SMEs in general, especially in internationalizing their operations. Research questions that are frequently asked pertain to the factors that determine their exports or internationalization strategies or the drivers of their internationalization and/or the challenges faced by SMEs in their internationalization efforts. In contrast, there is less focus on how SMEs overcome exisiting challenges to enter markets and extend their reach, especially in ASEAN. The seminar aims to understand how SMEs in Indonesia and Malaysia manage to penetrate the ASEAN and global market, using a case studies approach. In particular, what are the policies and institutions (both in their respective countries and in ASEAN) that are most helpful in their internationalization strategies for ASEAN and beyond ASEAN.

About the Speakers

Tulus T.H. Tambunan is a lecturer in the faculty of economics, Trisakti University in Jakarta, Indonesia. Currently he is also the director and the main researcher of the Center for Industry, Small and Medium Enterprises, and Business Competition Studies in the same university. He has done many studies on various issues related to micro, small and medium enterprises, economic crises, regional trade, and inclusive development. Some of his publications include ASEAN Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises toward AEC 2015 (Saarbrȕcken: Lambert Academic Publishing (LAP), 2015), and SME in Asian Developing Countries (London: Palgrave Macmillan Publisher, 2009).

Tham Siew Yean is a Senior Fellow at ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute. She was formerly Director and Professor at Institute of Malaysian and International Studies (IKMAS), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. Her research interests and publications are in foreign direct investment, international trade, trade policies, and industrial development in Malaysia and ASEAN. Her recent publication includes among others, “Moving Up the Value Chain in ICT: ASEAN Trade with China”, Journal of Contemporary Asia, Vol. 46, No. 4: 680-699; 2016 (with Andrew Jia Yi Kam and Nor Izzatina Aziz).


For registration, please fill in this form and email to by 28 April 2017.


May 02 2017


10:00 am - 11:30 am


ISEAS Seminar Room 2