What Is the Asian Productivity Organization (APO)?

The Asian Productivity Organization (APO) is a union of 20 Asian countries headquartered in Tokyo that joined forces to promote socioeconomic development in the region and among members. It was established May 11, 1961, as a regional, intergovernmental organization and is considered to be non-political, non-profit, and non-discriminatory.

Current members of the Asian Productivity Organization (APO) are Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Fiji, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Key Takeaways

  • The Asian Productivity Organization (APO) is devoted to promoting greater productivity among countries in Asia and the Pacific.
  • The non-political, non-profit intergovernmental organization currently has 20 members.
  • It conducts research, offers advice, promotes sustainable development, and encourages members to share information and technology among themselves.

How the Asian Productivity Organization (APO) Works

The Asian Productivity Organization’s (APO) primary goal is to facilitate economic and social progress and development in Asia and the Pacific. It aims to make its members more productive and competitive and sets out to achieve this by conducting research, offering advice, promoting sustainable (green) development and encouraging members to share information and technology among themselves.

The Asian Productivity Organization (APO) functions as a think tank, conducting research to determine the needs of its members, and acts as a catalyst by promoting bilateral and multilateral alliances and collaboration among members, as well as with groups outside the Asian Productivity Organization (APO) region.

It operates as an advisor on economic and development matters, too, helping to create strategies for productivity and competitiveness for its members. The Asian Productivity Organization (APO) is an institution builder, providing promotion, training, and consultancy services to the public and private sectors to strengthen the National Productivity Organizations (NPOs) and other institutions. It is also a clearinghouse for productivity information, disseminating information on productivity among its members and other stakeholders.

Important

Membership is open to any country that is already a member of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP).

The Asian Productivity Organization (APO) is composed of the governing body, the NPOs, and the secretariat, which is headed by a secretary-general. The secretariat has three departments: the administration and finance department, the research and planning department, the industry department, and the agriculture department.

History of the Asian Productivity Organization (APO)

In 1959, the first Asian round table productivity conference was held in Tokyo, Japan. An interim committee drafted a convention for the formation of an Asian productivity body. The Asian Productivity Organization (APO) was formally established in 1961, with eight founding members: the Republic of China, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Thailand.

In 1963, Hong Kong joined the Asian Productivity Organization (APO). The Republic of Vietnam and Iran later joined in 1965, followed by Ceylon in 1966, Indonesia in 1968, Singapore in 1969, Bangladesh in 1982, Malaysia in 1983, Fiji in 1984, Mongolia in 1992, Vietnam in 1996, Lao PDR in 2002, and Cambodia in 2004.

Dr. Santhi Kanoktanaporn is the current secretary-general. He joined the Asian Productivity Organization (APO) in 2016 after 35 years as a leading figure of two multinational firms (SGS of Switzerland and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce), the Thailand Productivity Institute, and the Management System Certification Institute of the Ministry of Industry (Thailand).

Example of the Asian Productivity Organization (APO)

According to its website, the Asian Productivity Organization (APO) is currently inviting members to sign up to a workshop on agricultural transformation. Its goal is to help members become more productive and competitive in their agricultural endeavors by taking advantage of technological breakthroughs, such as the internet of things (IoT), cloud computing, big data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI).