The Role of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises
Studies of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises in East Asia series
Edited by Charles Harvie and Boon-Chye Lee
Chapter 1: Introduction: The Role of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises in Achieving and Sustaining Growth and Performance
Charles Harvie and Boon-Chye Lee 1.1 OVERVIEW This volume is the third in a series on small and medium-sized enterprises in East Asia, deﬁned broadly to include the countries along the western rim of the Paciﬁc from Japan and China in the north to Australia and New Zealand in the south, taking in the ASEAN countries along the way. The focus of the ﬁrst volume was on the changing global economic environment and the role, contribution, problems and opportunities facing SMEs in East Asia (Harvie and Lee, 2002a). The second focused upon the role and contribution of SMEs in a number of countries in East Asia, ranging from developing and transition economies such as China, Vietnam and Indonesia, to the newly industrialized economies of Korea, Taiwan and Malaysia, to the mature developed economies of Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Singapore (Harvie and Lee, 2002b). The focus in the current volume, as the title suggests, is on both how SMEs contribute to achieving and sustaining growth and performance in their economies, as well as the ways in which governments can assist and enhance that contribution. This is of particular concern given the trauma that many of the East Asian economies experienced in the wake of the ﬁnancial and economic crisis of 1997–98, including severe declines in GDP, rising unemployment and poverty (see for example World Bank, 1998; Tran and Harvie, 2000; and Harvie, 2002). Faced with the need to restructure and reform their economies, putting them on a...