Small businesses
Small online businesses are trying to cushion the blow if economic turbulence occurs Getty

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) fear a rise in interest rates in the UK more than the threats from the stalling Chinese economy, a study showed.

An eBay study, revealed exclusively to IBTimes UK, showed that a quarter of small and medium online companies think the threat of an interest rate hike by the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee could harm their business, while only 5% are afraid of the turbulence from the Chinese economy.

The website eBay surveyed 409 SME owners between 16 and 25 November and found that threats close to home, like the interest rates, are bigger than international risks. The study also showed that 28% of SME bosses fear a rise in inflation in the next year.

These threats have caused a shift in the way entrepreneurs and small company owners run their business. eBay's study suggests that SMEs are expanding product offerings and spreading their supplier relationships in order to brace themselves for domestic turbulence and unexpected economic events.

This shift has caused businesses to be relatively resilient to economic threats. The majority of small online businesses remain upbeat about their prospects for 2016. Almost half of SMEs are positive about the economy and trading forecasts, compared to 22% who are bearish on their prospects.

A majority of small online businesses remain optimistic about their prospects for 2016, with 49% bullish about the economy and their trading forecasts, compared to just 22% who are not.

"The agility we're seeing here is the new norm for online British businesses," Alex Doorey, eBay UK's head of business communications, told IBTimes UK. "In the digital age we are seeing more and more business owners experimenting with ways to grow – and it's great that so many are taking steps to improve their resilience and approaching 2016 with confidence."