APEC App Challenge to Knock Down Hurdles to Trade

Ha Noi, Viet Nam, 09 May 2017
  • Issued by the APEC Secretariat

The Asia Pacific’s most talented software and web developers will travel in two weeks to Ha Noi to participate in a 24-hour “APEC App Challenge,” a joint initiative by Viet Nam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade, The Asia Foundation and Google.

The marathon session will take place in conjunction with APEC’s Second Senior Officials’ Meeting and the 23rd Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting in Ha Noi, Viet Nam this month.

Eleven teams of developers from APEC member economies will be in Ha Noi from 18-19 May for an attempt to build a new mobile or web solution to one or more key challenges faced by medium, small, and micro enterprise owners who are interested in expanding their businesses through cross-border trade.

“Although the internet has dramatically cut down the exporting costs for SMEs, especially in developed economies, businesses in the region are facing a number of challenges, and the benefits from international trade remain elusive,” explained Viet Nam E-Commerce and Information Technology’s Principle Deputy Director General, Lai Viet Anh.

“We hope that these creative young developers will encourage APEC policymakers to learn how to apply technology to some of the real concerns people face when they want to expand their businesses,” Lai continued.

Developer teams are encouraged to think creatively about the challenges faced by local SMEs, the opportunities afforded by online tools and marketplaces, and the practicalities associated with developing and implementing their new product.

“The topic of APEC App Challenge is particularly important for the Asia-Pacific region, where SMEs make up roughly 98 per cent of all businesses and employ two-thirds of the region’s labor force,” said The Asia Foundation’s Senior Director of Digital Media and Technology Programs, John Karr. “For example, even though Indonesia’s SMEs contribute nearly 60 per cent of GDP, their share of total exports is only 16 per cent.”

"The Internet has dramatically lowered the costs of exporting goods and services for micro and small businesses. It's opened up tremendous opportunities for them to connect to new customers all across the Asia-Pacific and the world. This project is designed to empower these businesses to take the first steps to exporting their products and services, so they and their communities can benefit from access to a wider market, faster economic growth, and the creation of more jobs," observed Andrew Ure, Head of Trade and Economic Affairs in the Asia-Pacific for Google.

“Ultimately, the goal of the APEC App Challenge is to highlight new ways of promoting inclusive, innovative, and sustainable growth in Asia-Pacific economies and stipulate policies that will promote more innovation to address trade issues,” added Dr Alan Bollard, the APEC Secretariat’s Executive Director. 

The announcement will take place alongside the APEC Symposium on Trade and Innovation on 19 May. In addition, teams competing in the APEC App Challenge will also be considered for the APEC Digital Prosperity Award, a special prize for the creation of a new digital product that uses innovation to expand inclusive growth across economies in the Asia-Pacific region.

For more:

The entire SOM2 and Related Meetings schedule in Ha Noi from 9-18 May can be viewed here.

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For further details, or to arrange possible media interviews, please contact:

David Hendrickson +65 9137 3886 at drh@apec.org

Michael Chapnick +65 9647 4847 at mc@apec.org

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