Industry Analysis



In the majority of the regions, SMEs account for more than 90% of all businesses, with LATAM and APAC’s share of SMEs going as far up as 99%. Micro enterprises were predominant as well, while large businesses usually made less than 1% of the total business count in every region. All the information has been included in the attached spreadsheet.


  • Germany has one of the strongest SME sectors in Europe, with more 3.7 million SMEs, which represent 99.5% of the total number of businesses in the country.
  • According to the European SBA report from 2018, France had roughly 2.96 million SMEs at the end of 2018, of which 95.3% were micro-sized companies.
  • Italy’s SME sector represents 99.9% of the total businesses in the country.

North America


  • There are 27.5 million SMEs in Latin America, of which 24.6 million are micro enterprises.
  • Of the 1.38 million enterprises in Colombia, 1.32 million (99.5%) are SMEs.
  • In Argentina, the number of SMEs represent 99.4% of all the registered enterprises, but the number of micro enterprises is smaller than the rest of the region, accounting for only 84.9% of the total firms in the country.


  • SMEs in Africa represent about 90% of the total businesses. Unfortunately, we were not able to find data on the total number of SMEs in the region but we did find a percentage breakdown for the different SME-size businesses.
  • Morocco had roughly 518,830 registered enterprises at the end of 2018, according to the IFC, of which 93% are considered SMEs.
  • In South Africa, roughly 97.9% of all the companies are considered SMEs.


  • The total number of SMEs for the developing countries in APAC is between 13.2 million and 16.4 million, according to the IFC. This figure, however, does not include the number of SMEs of India, China, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Australia, as those are considered developed countries.
  • As such, we decided to find the total number of SMEs for those six countries and add it to the number of SMEs for the developing countries in South and East Asia.
  • Japan has reported that their SMEs sector has been declining in recent years but they still represent 99.7% of all businesses in the country, accounting for 3.587 million businesses.
  • Malaysia has 907,065 SMEs, representing 98.5% of business establishments in the country.
  • New Zealand had 546,740 enterprises in the beginning of 2019, of which 97% were SMEs. This means that there were 530,338 SMEs in New Zealand in the beginning of 2019.
  • Australia had 2,375,753 registered businesses in 2019, of which, 2,371,482 were SMEs with less than 200 employees.
  • 99.8% of all legal entities in China were SMEs at the end of 2018. This amounts 18.07 million businesses that are considered small and medium-sized.
  • Out of the 63.3 million SMEs in India, 99.4% of them are micro enterprises.
  • After adding the number of SMEs for the developing countries in APAC and the number of SMEs for India, China, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Australia, we were able to estimate that the total number of SMEs in APAC is between 101,058,820 and 104,258,820.

Research Strategy

While we were able to find the majority of the information, there are a few aspects and assumptions that we needed to make in order to make sure that the data remains consistent across the different countries and regions. For instance, many countries and regions have their own way of defining micro, small, medium, and large enterprises. Canada, defines a large enterprise as one that has more than 200 employees, while the EU defines a large enterprise as a company with more than 250 employees and over 43 million euros in revenue. The US, on the other hand, does not have a measure for micro enterprises and, instead, counts those with only their founder as employee as non-employee firms. As such, we have decided to provide a breakdown that does not take into account the number of employees but just the way the business is defined in each region (i.e micro, small, medium, large) in order to have a consistent breakdown of the number of SMEs by size.
It is also important to note that the majority of the data is from 2016 to 2018 as many of the government entities do not track the change in the number of firms on a yearly basis. For instance, the last Canadian report that looked into the number of firms in the country was from 2018 while the last report of the OECD for Latin America used data from 2016 and 2017. We did, however, make sure that the reports we used were published in the last one to two years, meaning that the data we provided is the latest available for each country and region.

Glenn is the Lead Operations Research Analyst at Simple Manifestation with experience in research, statistical data analysis and interview techniques. A holder of degree in Economics. A true specialist in quantitative and qualitative research.


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