Andrew Ure, Head of Trade and Economic Affairs in the Asia-Pacific for Google at the event (Photo: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – The Asia Pacific’s most talented software and web developers took part in a 24-hour “APEC App Challenge”, a joint initiative by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Asia Foundation and Google, in Hanoi on May 18.

The challenge was held on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)’s Second Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM2) and the 23rd Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT) Meeting in the city.

It aims 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.

Eleven teams of developers from nine APEC member economies, including China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, participated in the event seeking to build a new mobile or web solution to one or more key challenges faced by micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) who are interested in expanding their businesses through cross-border trade.

Andrew Ure, Head of Trade and Economic Affairs in the Asia-Pacific for Google said the Internet has dramatically lowered the costs of exporting goods and services for micro- and small-sized 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, he noted.

Deputy Head of the e-Commerce and Information Technology Department Lai Viet Anh viewed that although the Internet has dramatically cut down the exporting costs for SMEs, especially in developing economies, businesses in the region are facing a number of challenges and the benefits from international trade remain elusive.

The Asia Foundation’s Senior Director of Digital Media and Technology Programme John Karr said the APEC App Challenge this year is particularly important to the region where SMEs account for about 98 percent of all enterprises and employ two-third of the region’s labour force.

The winners will be announced during the APEC Symposium on Trade and Innovation on May 19.

In addition, teams competing in the challenge will also be considered for the APEC Digital Prosperity Award, a special prize for the creation of a new digital product that uses innovations to expand inclusive growth across economies in the region.-VNA