Taiwan and Vietnam Jointly Host the "APEC SME O2O Forum I"


APEC Promotes Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Asia Pacific Region through International Collaboration

To help SMEs in Taiwan and in other parts of the Asia Pacific region to seize the new business opportunities that are emerging in relation to the implementation of the O2O (Online-to-Offline) model, Ms. Mei-Hsueh Lin, Deputy Director-General of the Small and Medium Enterprise Administration (SMEA) of the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), headed a delegation which travelled to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam to attend the 42nd APEC SME Working Group Meeting from April 24 to April 28, 2016. In the course of the Working Group Meeting, Taiwan and Vietnam jointly hosted the APEC SME O2O Forum I on April 26 with over 100 attendees, including high-ranking officials from 21 economies, representatives of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) and Asia Pacific Cross-Border E-Commerce Platform, and representatives of accelerators and seed accelerators. The forum focused on discussions on important international issues such as the digital economy and mobile commerce, and 15 innovative tech start-ups from 10 APEC economies provided demos; it was anticipated that this cross-border exchange and sharing of ideas would contribute to the development of new business opportunities in the future.

O2O Represents a New "Blue Ocean" Uncontested Market Space in the Digital Economy, One Which Offers a Bright Future for APEC SMEs

On April 26, Ms. Mei-Hsueh Lin, Deputy Director General of Small and Medium Enterprise Administration (SMEA) of Taiwan, Mr. John Andersen, Chair of APEC Small and Medium Enterprises Working Group (SMEWG), Mr. Nguyen Hoa Cuong, Deputy Director-General of Agency for Enterprise Development, Ministry of Planning and Investment of Viet Nam and Mr. Jerry Clavesillas, Director of the Bureau of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprise Development of the Philippines gave their opening remarks to encourage the dynamic development of O2O and digital economy. In her remarks, Ms. Lin expressed her appreciation to the support and participation from member economies and the hospitality of Viet Nam. She emphasized that O2O and digital economy has extensively changed the way SMEs doing their business and brought them both new opportunities and challenges. In response to the new chances and challenges, it is critical to understand the four key O2O innovative applications, namely, "Mobile Commerce", Sharing Economy", "Collaborative Industry" and Next Generation Innovation" to stand out in the new digital era.

"APEC SME O2O Forum I" in Ho Chi Minh City is the first of the O2O serial events under Chinese Taipei and the Philippines’ "New Era of Growth for APEC SMEs through O2O Business Model Initiative". Later in June, an international training workshop will be held in Taipei in collaboration with Computex, a well-known international ICT Expo organized by Chinese Taipei. In July, the highlight of this series, "APEC SME O2O Summit & Best Practice Showcase" will be held in Taipei as well, and there will be the "APEC SME O2O Forum II" to be held in Lima, Peru during the 23rd SME ministerial meeting (SMEMM) this September. These events will be joined by global tech giants, Intel, Siemens, Acer and Trend Micro to work together reshaping our future world by discovering more cutting-edge applications in O2O toward the digital era. By doing so, Chinese Taipei and the APEC believe, we can help startups and SMEs step forward to meet the quality and inclusive growth.

Mr. David Kuo, CEO of the Taiwanese enterprise iiiNNO, was invited to speak on the development of, and trends in, the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosphere of Taiwan and the Asia Pacific. The Forum hosts also invited the winner of the 2015 APEC Global Challenge, iStaging from Taiwan, and EZTABLE, a 24-hour Internet-based restaurant reservation service, to participate alongside 13 other brilliant and innovative teams from 9 other economies (Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, China, Mexico, Chile and Peru) and share their successful experience in employing O2O technology to promote their business to the global market. Triip.me, a team from Vietnam, was awarded first prize in the selection at the meeting and was invited to participate in the O2O Summit in Taipei in July, which is sure to be an exciting and productive event.

Representatives from APEC Economies Gather at Ho Chi Minh City to Chart A New Roadmap for SME Policy

In addition, the 42nd APEC SME Working Group Meeting was hosted in Ho Chi Minh City from April 27 to April 28, 2016. Taiwan was represented by Deputy Director-General Mei-Hsueh Lin of the Small and Medium Enterprise Administration. The APEC theme for the year 2016 is "Quality Growth and Human Development," which includes as its sub-theme "Towards the Modernization of MSMEs in the Asia-Pacific." In response to the preceding discussions, the SME Ministerial Meeting this year will prioritize work relating to "Promoting innovation and SME linkage, developing infrastructure that enhances productivity, incorporating green SMEs into the global value chain, and globalizing MSMEs and incorporating them into the global value chain." Taiwan submitted three reports at this Working Group Meeting, including the "APEC SME New O2O Business Model Application Initiative" this year; the "APEC Accelerator Network (ANN)" development report; and a case study on YOKE Industrial Corp., Taiwan's "SME Hidden Champion" in the lifting chain industry. Through the reports given at the Meeting, Taiwan was able to share experience with and engage in exchange with other economies, thereby enhancing our visibility in international organizations. At the Meeting, the APEC Policy Support Unit (PSU) reported on the importance of inter-ministerial collaboration in "Improving the Business Environment for SMEs through Policy Adjustment." Using Taiwan as an example, it pointed out that, under the management and direction provided by the MOEA, Taiwan has actively built a more SME-friendly environment and has promoted the development of more open information networks to help SMEs obtain financial support.

Taiwan also actively participated in drafting the "2017-2020 APEC SME Working Group Strategic Plan" and joined the other member economies in deciding on the priority policy sectors for the next four years, including "Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Digital and Internet Economy," "Financial and Funding Services," "Regulatory and Institutional Support for Inclusive Economy," and "Market Access." The member economies also pledged to continue to promote all related initiatives and build a globalized environment that is conducive to the development of SMEs, so as to achieve APEC's goal of "quality growth."