Software developers to compete in APEC app contest hinh anh 1Illustrative image (Source: APEC)

Hanoi (VNA)
- The Asia-Pacific region’s most talented software and web developers, including those from Vietnam, will participate in a 24-hour app challenge focused on building products that address a persistent regional challenge: how can more micro and small businesses start exporting to foreign markets?

The “APEC App Challenge”, which is an APEC initiative by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), the Asia Foundation, and Google, will be held in Hanoi on May 18-19 as one of activities towards the 23rd Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting (MRT 23). This setting will encourage interactions and learning between APEC policy makers and App Challenge participants from the Asia-Pacific region and provide a creative class for young software entrepreneurs. 

Teams will take part in a marathon overnight coding session, where coders and designers across APEC attempt to build a new mobile or web solution to one or more key challenges faced by owners of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) who are interested in expanding their businesses through cross-border trade.

The panel of judges will announce the winner of the app challenge in the morning of May 19. The Ministers of Trade will present the first prize to the winning team in an official award ceremony at the APEC Symposium on Trade and Innovation in the afternoon of the same day.

The topic of the APEC App Challenge is particularly important for the Asia-Pacific region, where MSMEs make up roughly 98 percent of all businesses and employ two-thirds of the region’s labour 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. 

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. 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).

The 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.-VNA