An employee uses a sewing machine in a clothing company in Tongxin county, the Ningxia Hui autonomous region. (Photo: Xinhua)
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies should strengthen cooperation to push forward with transformation and upgrade of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which are playing an increasingly important role in driving regional economic growth, officials said on Wednesday.
SMEs are the driving force of economic development in the Asia Pacific region; it is a group of enterprises with the largest number, the most active vitality in innovation and the strongest employment-promoting capability, Wang Jiangping, vice-minister of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said.
SMEs have become an important force of cooperation in the region, he said at the opening of APEC SME Business Forum 2019, held in Shenzhen on Wednesday. The event, which serves as a platform for SMEs in the Asia Pacific region to exchange ideas and seek business opportunities, attracted about 800 attendees from 17 APEC members.
Wang said China has been working to carry out reforms to build an open economy and create a stable, fair business environment, which has achieved good results and gained recognition from the rest of the world.
Mohd Hatta Bin Md Ramli, deputy minister of the Ministry of Entrepreneurial Development of Malaysia, said it is important for APEC member economies to increase exchanges and cooperation to speed up transformation and upgrade of SMEs in the digital era, so that they can take better advantage of the opportunities brought by the internet to achieve further growth.
As the host of next year's APEC meeting, Malaysia will grasp the opportunity to promote innovative development of SMEs in the region and work to enhance their global competitiveness, he said.
Thailand's ambassador to China Arthayudh Srisamoot echoed his view, saying the internet and new technologies are bringing a new growth engine to its economy and SMEs are major players in it. The country has formulated a strategy to drive it towards a digital-driven economy in the next 20 years.
"An SME is one of the primary mechanisms for promoting and strengthening the growth of the Thai economy by creating incomes and employment," he said.