The first APEC Digital Prosperity Award was given to Airlala, Viet Nam-based e-commerce platform, as APEC senior officials began their policy deliberations. Airlala’s mission is to support local artisans to sell products globally.
The APEC Digital Prosperity Award is a special prize for the creation of a new digital product that uses innovation to increase prosperity and inclusive growth across economies in the Asia Pacific region.
“We are honored to receive the first APEC Digital Prosperity Award,” said Hai Nguyen, Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Airlala. “The award offers great support towards our mission to support local artisans and small business in the APEC region.”
“Airlala is more than a marketplace, it is empowered by machine-learning that will match international buyers with the local artisans and small businesses, based on the information buyers and sellers put through the platform,” he added.
The e-commerce platform was selected for the APEC Digital Prosperity Award from a pool of eleven teams that participated in the first-ever APEC App Challenge in May where the Asia-Pacific’s most talented developers competed to build an app for small businesses on the sidelines of APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting in Ha Noi, Viet Nam.
“Small businesses are a key to boosting innovation in the Asia-Pacific region and form the backbone of the region’s business sector,” highlighted APEC Executive Director Alan Bollard.. “Given its importance and potential, they must continue to be afforded an environment that enables them to thrive.”
“The APEC Digital Prosperity Award aims to motivate the region’s creative entrepreneurial spirit to solve the challenges small business players are facing through innovation and technology,” he added.
The APEC Digital Prosperity Award Selection Committee is comprised of The Asia Foundation, the APEC Secretariat, the Viet Nam Ministry of Industry and Trade, and Google.
“Airlala provides the platform for SME players to expand their businesses outside their home market,” said John Karr, Senior Director of The Asia Foundation’s Technology Programs. “It uses the familiar and proven marketplace model which has high scalability and replicability. This is the reason why we decided to grant the APEC Digital Prosperity Award to Airlala.”
“Small businesses hold great potential. All they need is to have the tool to sell online, sell their crafts, skills and their goods to the world,” added Andrew Ure, Google’s head of Trade and Economic Affairs in the Asia Pacific.
“If we’re able to double the numbers of small businesses in Asia-Pacific that are exporting, it would add 35 million new jobs, and US$ 1.5 trillion in export sales in the region.”
The winner of APEC Digital Prosperity Award was announced during the Concluding Senior Officials’ Meeting in conjunction with the 2017 APEC Economic Leaders’ Week in Da Nang, Viet Nam.