APEC members must meet the emerging challenges posed by the new economy in order to maintain their economic growth, according to Mitsuru Taniuchi [CQ], the chair of the APEC Economic Committee.
In a report, the Economic Committee voiced several concerns about the digital divide -- the gap between people who have access to communications technologies and those who do not. The report revealed that there was a huge disparity in Internet use among APEC economies. For example, the proportion of Internet users as a share of total population in the US and Canada is between 100 and 200 times higher than in developing economies like China, Mexico and Thailand.
In the report, Taniuchi underscored the significance of entrepreneurship, saying that in times of strong technological change there is a great deal of scope for entrepreneurial individuals and small firms to steal a march on larger firms.
Over the last decade or two, it has been small firms who have created jobs in major economies in the world. By contrast, the number of jobs in larger firms has shrunk. A case study on Taiwan's SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) showed that its well-developed SMEs were the source of dynamism and an engine of growth for the Taiwanese economy, according to the report.
APEC brings together 21 nations that border the Asia-Pacific region: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Republic of the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam and the US.