Asia Pacific
APEC economies get ready for digital disruption
Last Updated: 2018-09-18 15:39 | Xinhua
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Over the past week, Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) members have been looking at new ways businesses can capitalize on changing technologies and consumers habits across the region.

Meeting in Papua New Guinea (PNG)'s capital city Port Moresby, APEC Small and Medium Enterprise Working Group has been advancing policy consultations to ensure that "digital disruption" does not hinder job creation and inclusive trade growth.

"We are working with our partners in APEC to empower businesses on the small end of the scale to compete in the new economy, both in good times and when faced with challenges like we are seeing in the trading landscape now," PNG Minister for National Planning and Monitoring Richard Maru said in a statement on Monday.

"With cheaper and more accessible mobile technology, even village and roadside enterprises from the informal sector have a golden opportunity to develop and do business in new markets, including in other APEC economies where consumer demand is rising."

"Our policy efforts in APEC to encourage small and micro enterprise innovation are especially important for commodity dependent economies like PNG, helping us diversify our GDP growth and safeguard jobs from boom and bust cycles."

Urging small businesses to seek foreign markets by utilizing digital platforms and new technologies, APEC officials believe its entrepreneurs in small firms are in the best position to innovate.

The group also identified potential high-growth sectors like healthcare, construction, renewable energy, ag-tech and ecotourism as the most suited to adapt to emerging technologies, citing the need to boost "IT adoption, online business model mentoring, investor engagement and access to digital financing channels."

"We are pursuing an ambitious and strategic small business modernization agenda in APEC that reflects a common recognition that the future of trade, growth and jobs hinge on the resilience of such firms in changing times," Chair of the APEC Small and Medium Enterprise Working Group Nguyen Hoa Cuong said.

"This work will take time to implement and come into effect at a grassroots level on a scale that broadly impacts our economies."

"But the positive difference it can make for people's lives and livelihoods all around the APEC region makes it a real policy imperative."

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