A report published by Alibaba found that a number of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) were able to survive the onslaught of the pandemic by employing e-commerce. The report showed that the survival rate of MSMEs is seven percentage points higher in the regions with the highest e-commerce penetration than in those with the lowest. The economic downturn was also less severe in regions with higher e-commerce penetration rates. In Southeast Asia, MSMEs account for 97% of all businesses in the region and employ 67% of the working population. The report, however, noted that less than a quarter of MSMEs escaped the negative effects of the pandemic, with only 23.5% of them not suffering from a decline in sales whilst two-thirds of MSMEs saw business income drop by 40%.
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