The event will be co-organised by the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Asia Foundation and Google in the run-up to the 23rd APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting slated for May in the capital city. This setting will encourage interactions and learning between APEC policy makers and App Challenge participants from Asia and Pacific region and provide a creative class for young software entrepreneurs.
During 24 hours, participants are required to develop a free application on mobile phone or website to help micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) leverage the Internet to export to foreign markets.
The winners will be announced on May 19 morning. Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh will present awards to the winning team at the APEC conference on trade and innovation held in the afternoon the same day.
The theme of APEC App Challenge is particularly important for the Asia-Pacific region, where MSMEs make up roughly 98% of all businesses and employ two-thirds of the region’s labor force. Whereas the internet has dramatically cut down the exporting costs for MSMEs, especially in developed economies, businesses in the region are facing a number of challenges, and the benefits from international trade remain elusive. For example, even though Indonesia’s SMEs contribute nearly 60% of GDP, their share of total exports is only 16%.
Small business owners in Asia - Pacific developing economies face a number of challenges in attempt to access cross-border trade both in terms of physical/ financial infrastructure and local regulations (i.e. non-tariff barriers). Because of that, exports so far have not been an option for medium, small and micro businesses but digital platforms have dramatically lowered the costs of exporting. This means that it is the first time for MSMEs to consider accessing export markets and taking advantage of global value chains (GVCs).
This APEC App Challenge is a unique effort to generate learning and share new ideas across APEC, concurrently building potential solutions to help small businesses overcome existing barriers. Ultimately, the goal of the 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.