Standard Chartered Bank (Thai) plans to leverage its global network to help local small and medium-sized enterprises expand abroad, particularly in high-growth emerging markets.
Christopher Dalo, Standard Chartered's global head of sales management and customer offerings, said Thai companies have strong potential to expand internationally through the group's network of 1,200 branches in emerging markets.
He said local enterprises can expand beyond Asean and praised Thailand's solid economic fundamentals and positive growth outlook.
In Thailand, SME business contributes around 40% of the country's gross domestic product and upwards of 80% of its total employment. The bank said small businesses typically grow at double the rate of economic growth in many markets.
Standard Chartered expects SME business growth of 10-12% per year over the next several years in its key markets in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
"We set an ambitious goal to be a leading international bank for SME business the next few years, doubling our portfolio. Thailand is a key market to support that goal," said Mr Dalo.
The group launched a financial solutions campaign across the world called Simplicity that covers both transactions and loan products, thought to be key instrument in its increasing SME business in Thailand.
Of the British group's 1,200 emerging market branches, 900 are in Asia, 200 are in the Middle East and the remainder are in Africa. It has a presence in nine of the Asean members, excluding only Myanmar, with 115-120 branches in the region including 27 in Thailand.
Chaveng Sethaporn, the head of SME banking for Thailand, said the local branch has experience in SME imports and exports to assist its customer base in expansion abroad. Some exporters have shifted their focus to the Middle East and Africa in place of the riskier US and EU markets.
The bank's SME business portfolio stands at 14 billion baht, generated largely from transactional banking services, with 10,000 accounts, of which 500 are importers and exporters.
"We'll focus mainly on a full range of financial solutions for SMEs in Thailand rather than loan growth, in line with our strengths in this segment," said Mr Chaveng.
About the author
- Writer: Somruedi Banchongduang
Position: Business Reporter