Virtual travel agency Triip.me from Viet Nam and medical consultation channel Medifi from the Philippines have been named the Asia-Pacific’s top startups for successfully employing online tools to drive offline consumer traffic.
The firms were chosen by small business officials from APEC member economies and industry representatives out of a pool of 14 innovative startups from the region. They were assessed based on presentations of their “online-to-offline” business models, spotlighting the potential of mobile internet, e-commerce and payment technologies to ignite commercial development.
The evaluations took place in Lima ahead of a key meeting of Ministers here on Friday to further enable entrepreneurship and business growth in the region.
“Digital advances are opening up consumer access like never before,” said John Andersen, Chair of the APEC Small and Medium Enterprise Working Group. “APEC is drawing out real world lessons to help startups leverage the internet to build viable cross-border businesses,” continued Andersen, who is also Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Western Hemisphere at the United States Department of Commerce.
“The digital economy has become the single most important driver of innovation, competitiveness and growth in the region,” added Mei-Hsueh Lin, Deputy Director-General of Chinese Taipei’s Small and Medium Enterprise Administration and overseer of APEC’s online-to-offline project work. “It is vital for new businesses to use opportunities online to stand out.”
Focus is on helping entrepreneurs understand how to take advantage of online-to-offline applications to attract consumers and grow their operations. Examples include the deployment of e-commerce, sharing economies, industry collaboration and digital innovation, with best practices and experiences of up-and-coming startups offering a blueprint for implementation.
Other model startups participating in the online-to-offline evaluations ranged from an installment payment service, to a thriving digital media site. They hail from China, Chile, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Chinese Taipei, the United States and Viet Nam.
The program is part of a multi-year online-to-offline business model promotion initiative, administered in collaboration with leading digital firms such as eBay, Amazon, Alibaba and Rukuten. The next event in this region-wide series will take place in Boracay, the Philippines.
“APEC is committed to optimizing the digital innovation ecosystem to unleash the potential of online-to-offline business,” concluded Jerry Clavesillas, Director of the Philippines’ Bureau of Small and Medium Enteprise Development. “Our goal is to cultivate startups that can help to realize a new era of trade and inclusive growth across the region’s economies.”
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