Despite external headwinds, Malaysian companies are not as gloomy about their business prospects next year as one might expect. HSBC's latest global survey, "Navigator: Now,next and how for business", which gauges business sentiment and expectations of trade activity and business growth of 9,131 companies in 35 markets - including 202 firms in Malaysia - indicates that Malaysian businesses are optimistic about the outlook for the year ahead. In fact, 81% of businesses forecast sales growth next year, largely through improved productivity and entry into new markets. Nevertheless, confidence is not unanimous across Malaysian firms, with almost 31% of companies more pessimistic about growth than a year ago - considerably more downbeat than the global average (18%). Read on for other interesting results from the survey, which was conducted between August and September this year.