The complex and far-reaching impact of technology in boosting economic growth is a topic that permeates both the official and unofficial discussions at the APEC CEO summit.
One of the headline events at the CEO Summit on Saturday featured John Rice, Vice Chairman of General Electric Company, and Eric Rudder, Executive Vice President for Advanced Strategy and Research at Microsoft, talking about “The Business of Innovation: Why Does It Matter?”
In the formal U.S. business delegation meetings and in the corridors, the conversation continued.
A new report – Ahead of the Curve: Lessons on Technology and Growth From Small Business Leaders, by the Boston Consulting Group – documents the powerful impact that technology has on the growth and success of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) from the United States and Germany to China, India and Brazil. The report, commissioned by Microsoft Corporation, found that SMEs that were technology leaders created 2x more jobs and increased revenue 15% in the past three years than those SMEs that lagged behind in the adoption of new technologies. This report shows that SMEs across these five economies could create $770 billion in new revenue and add about 6.2 million new jobs with the increased adoption of new technologies.
“SMEs are a critical growth engine for jobs and economies today, and we wanted to better understand the impact of technology on these small businesses,” said Orlando Ayala, corporate vice president and Microsoft chairman of Emerging Markets. “Since the economic crisis, many economies have struggled to return to strong economic growth and to create new jobs, and this research suggests strongly that greater use of advanced IT by SMEs can potentially boost both growth and employment.”
The issue of the policies required to advance technology was also at the forefront of discussions on the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. All manufacturers with cross-border investment and sales need to see policies put into place that ensure that their data can move across borders, that electronic commerce is accepted and that prohibit requirements to localize technology (such as servers) in any one country. The TPP economies could do much to increase their attractiveness for foreign investment by pursuing strong outcomes that advance these important 21st century issues.