Predicting that the Asian dotcom boom will be led by small business enterprises, President of Google Asia-Pacific Karim Temsamani said the sector was poised to transform economies across the Asia-Pacific region.

Addressing a press conference held here on Wednesday, Mr Temsamani said the Internet had changed the rules of the industrial revolution, with economies of scale no longer being the criteria for success.

Anu Madgavkar, Senior Fellow from McKinsey Global Institute, pointed out that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) contributed significantly to the GDP of countries across the Asia-Pacific region, with 30 million SMEs in India employing 75 percent of the workforce and accounting for up to 25 percent of the GDP.

Quoting research, she said that the Internet helped Asian SMEs gain revenue and reduce costs, not just in sales and marketing, but also back-end costs and improve productivity.

However, both Mr. Temsamani and Ms. Madgavkar stressed that lack of infrastructure, especially in India, was a major reason for the relatively small number of SMEs taking advantage of the Internet. Low bandwidth was seen as the major constraint across the region, with the cost of equipment being the second hurdle. Ms. Madgavkar said the rollout of 4G services could potentially bring several underserved areas of the country onto the Internet map, especially in India and China.

Designed to showcase Google’s engagement with small business—ranging from micro to medium units, the conference featured successful entrepreneurs who have used Google’s technologies and advertising to grow their businesses, reaching beyond traditional markets.

Responding to a question on other advertisement providers online, Taylor Yang, from E-gismos in Taiwan and Franco Fung from Sanwa Pearl and Gems Ltd. said the additional information on market trends, customer searches and market analytics made advertising with Google realise better return on investment. The search engine’s targeted advertising has changed the approach to advertising and has enabled small enterprises to take advantage of niche markets and gain customers with small budgets.

(The correspondent was in Singapore at the invitation of the company)