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Digitalization of businesses continues to be a major strategy for companies to raise productivity and for countries to improve the competitiveness of their industries. According to the statistics of the EU and OECD in 2021, firms of all sizes and in all sectors are increasingly deploying digital tools and equipment and building capabilities of their staff, but smaller businesses are slower than larger ones in this transformation. This is mainly because they lack the resources and capacity to adopt suitable technologies, redesign procedures and practices, leverage financial and human capital, and explore new strategies and business models.
To support member countries’ efforts in enabling SME digital upgrading, the APO organized a virtual observational study mission on Support for Digital Transformation for SMEs, 10–12 November, in partnership with the China Productivity Center. It included sessions on creating an ecosystem for SME digital upgrading, building a smart manufacturing sector in the Republic of China (ROC), enterprise digital transformation, and technical assistance for SMEs. These topics were in line the with the APO Vision 2025 goal of leveraging and adopting next-generation technologies and practices.
Forty-seven participants from 14 member countries were involved in this study mission, coming from government agencies, the private sector, industrial associations, and academia. Six resource persons from the ROC, Singapore, and UK conducted the sessions and offered advice.