Wha Is the Asian Productivity Organization?

The Asian Productivity Organization (APO) is a union of 20 Asian countries to promote socioeconomic development in the Asia region and among its members. The members of the APO are Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Fiji, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The Asian Productivity Organization (APO) was established on May 11, 1961, as a regional intergovernmental organization. It is considered a non-political, non-profit, and non-discriminatory organization.

The Role of the APO

The APO is a think tank that conducts research to determine the needs of its members. It acts as a catalyst by promoting bilateral and multilateral alliances and collaboration among members and with groups outside the APO region. The APO is an advisor to its members on economic and development matters and helps to create strategies for productivity and competitiveness for its members. The APO is an institution builder; it provides promotion, training, and consultancy services to the public and private sectors to strengthen the National Productivity Organizations (NPOs) and other institutions. The APO is also a clearinghouse for productivity information. It disseminates information on productivity among its members and other stakeholders. The APO also promotes sustainable (green) development.

The History of the 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 APO was formally established in 1961, with eight founding members – the Republic of China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, and Thailand. In 1963, Hong Kong joined the APO. The Republic of Vietnam and Iran joined in 1965, 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 joined in 2004

The APO's Organization

The 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.

Dr. Santhi Kanoktanaporn is the current Secretary General. He joined the APO in 2016 after 35 years as an executive and manager 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).