Embrace Innovation, APEC Business Leaders Told

Executives from some well- known companies Tuesday gave the advice to leaders of some small and medium-sized enterprises SMEs), noting that innovation is a must if they want their enterprises to grow fast.

At the on-going APEC SME Business Forum, which opened here Monday, Wang Hai, president of the Shandong-based Qingdao Double Star Group, said an enterprise must keep making technological innovations and improving management, or it will soon be left behind by others.

"If an enterprise is not innovative today, it will be kicked out of the game tomorrow." Double Star was a small firm 17 years ago and it is now one of China's largest footwear producers, with the value of its brands estimated at more than five billion yuan (US$600 million) .

"It was our consistent innovation that has made the company what it is today," Wang said. Liu Chijin, vice-president of Nokia (China) Investment Co., Ltd, said Nokia encourages its employees to be innovative in their work, and is glad to listen to their opinions, which has resulted in the creative work of all the staff.

According to him, one-third of Nokia's employees are now engaged in technological innovation, and the company puts 8.5 percent of its sales revenue into the development of new products.

Ma Seen Soon, a professor with the Singapore-based ASME Institute of Entrepreneurship Development, said innovation has become a key factor fostering the growth of enterprises today.

In- depth exchanges on enterprise growth among APEC member economies will effectively improve their competitiveness.

Jia Weimin, head of a small firm from the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in north China, said he has benefited a lot from the forum, and became more aware of the importance of innovation.

SMEs in the Asia-Pacific region are playing a significant role in local and regional economic development and should enhance cooperation in technological innovation to achieve common progress, said Zhang Zhigang, deputy minister of China's State Economic and Trade Commission.

(Xinhua 08/29/2001)

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