August 24, 2017
Students from Australia and Hong Kong Clinch Top Spot at FedEx Express/JA ITC 2017 Asia Pacific Finals
A two-person team of student entrepreneurs from Australia and Hong Kong were named the winners at the annual FedEx Express/JA International Trade Challenge (FedEx/JA ITC) Asia Pacific Finals in Singapore. This year, the finalists presented a market entry strategy to export a pet product to the United States.
Songen Yeung (JA Australia) and Manson So (JA Hong Kong) beat 29 teams from across the region with their eco-friendly cat litter, which is made of soybeans and is a first for the American market. The pallets are natural, safe for pets, and bio-degradable, creating less harm to pets as well as to the environment.
In the photo below, Songen Yeung (second from right ) and Manson So (second from left) are pictured with Vivian Lau, President, JA Asia Pacific, and Brian Tee, Managing Director of Sales, South Pacific Region, FedEx Express.
To promote a cross-culture exchange of ideas, participants were randomly shuffled to form teams of two, with each member from a different country. A total of 60 students from ten Asia-Pacific countries (Australia, mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam) participated in the competition.
"Winning wasn’t on my mind when I decided to participate," said Songen Yeung. "I started off with the mindset to learn about doing business, meet new people from different places, and challenge myself to do something out of my comfort zone. I am thrilled that I have achieved all that, and won the competition.” Manson So added, “This is certainly an eye-opening experience for me. We learned a lot about global business and team work among different cultures. I’d strongly encourage my schoolmates and friends to join this competition next year.”
The first runners up, Nathan Peadon (JA Australia) and SukHoon Chang (JA Korea), stood out with their proposal of uVET, a silicon microchip to be implanted into dogs to help owners keep track of their pets’ well-being and health, such as monitoring hydration levels, body fat, and body temperature.
Kevin Ho (JA Hong Kong) and Taishi Nishizawa (JA Japan) came in third with the idea of a multi-functional smart collar for dogs that owners can use to track the location of their pets. It can also measure the number of steps taken by a dog to ensure that the pet stays fit.
“Technology is moving us toward an increasingly borderless world, and cross-cultural collaboration has become the order of the day,” said Karen Reddington, president, FedEx Express Asia Pacific. “We are thrilled that this year’s format reflected the increasing importance of international teamwork. And FedEx is glad to be playing a part in providing a platform to nurture budding entrepreneurs. As part of our FedEx Cares commitment to invest $200 million in 200 communities worldwide by 2020, we are committed to giving entrepreneurs everywhere the tools they need to succeed.”
“The FedEx/JA ITC aims to provide students with the opportunity to gain business knowledge and work as cross-border teams to create innovative business ideas and solutions, just like in the real business world," said Vivian Lau, President, JA Asia Pacific. "Looking at the students’ interactions and impressive presentations this week, we are proud to say that it has been a success. We would like to thank FedEx Express for their continued support of this program, giving us the opportunity to support the development of young minds every year."
The FedEx/JA ITC program is jointly organized by FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp. and the world’s largest express transportation company, and JA Asia Pacific, a member of JA Worldwide. Designed to foster business knowledge through practical team exercises and classroom learning, the FedEx Express/JA program comprises two key activities: International Trade Workshops and the International Trade Challenge. To take part in the FedEx Express/JA International Trade Challenge, students in teams of two had to develop a specific product and create an original international marketing plan for a designated country. Through this process, students gained first-hand experience of what roles world trade, product distribution, and sales play in a market environment. In addition to teamwork, participating students learn the basics of risk evaluation in the business world and gain confidence in their analytical ability. The program has inspired more than 17,000 students in the region since its inception in 2007.
All photos from JA Asia Pacific.