ASEAN companies, especially Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), should beef up their research and development (R&D) efforts in order to achieve higher revenues, said International Trade and Industry Minister II, Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan.

Using robotics technologies alone is not enough, he said, citing countries like China, the US and Korea, which have advanced R&D capabilities.

"We have the supply chain so let’s just work together. Advancement in R&D is crucial as it could smoothen things up and increase revenue in the long term," he told reporters on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum on ASEAN 2016 here today.

Ong said ASEAN member countries should also work on further deepening regional integration to enable it to materialise its grandiose plan of an ASEAN single market.

There is also a need to create more value-added products or services, he said.

"For example, Malaysia is the world's biggest supplier of surgical gloves at 63 percent, however, with the recent decline in the production of the raw material, we have been working with our neighbour Thailand to get their latex.

"Since Malaysia has the technology, we import the raw material, we value-add to it and export it to the world,” he said.

Such trade links should be emulated further to hasten the integration process, he added.