By Susan Au Allen (National President & CEO - US Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce Education Foundation)
Each May, we come together as a nation to celebrate the rich heritage and immeasurable impact of the Asian Pacific American (APA) community. Their contributions and influence are interwoven into the very fabric of our nation - from the arts and sciences to business and public service.
As Asian Pacific American Heritage Month draws to a close, I’d like to take a moment to highlight the outsized role the Pan Asian American community has had in driving the evolution and advancement of American technology and innovation.
Over the past several decades, the Pan Asian American community has been at the forefront of the technological revolution, playing an integral role in fueling decades of American economic growth and prosperity. The groundbreaking products and services they create continue to propel society forward and improve the way each of us lives, works, and connects.
Prominent business leaders, such as Broadcom CEO Hock Tan, Nvidia Co-Founder and CEO Jensen Huang, and Google CEO Sundar Pichai, spearhead cutting-edge companies that employ hundreds of thousands and continue to push the boundaries of what is possible. Pan Asian American entrepreneurs like YouTube Co-Founder Steve Chen and DoorDash CEO Tony Xu are pioneering new products and services that foster opportunity and improve lives here in America and around the world. And, in Silicon Valley—the cradle of global innovation—around 57 percent of tech workers are from the Pan Asian American community.
To be sure, their impact is felt far beyond the Golden State. The talent and entrepreneurial spirit of the community fuel American prosperity and help create countless jobs in communities across the country. America’s thriving ecosystem of nearly 33 million small businesses relies heavily on our tech sector to access untapped markets, reduce costs, and find new customers. Advances in cloud-based software services enable safe and easy storage of critical data and protect small businesses from the growing threats posed by cybercriminals. Cutting-edge e-commerce platforms level the playing field and propel small businesses to enter and compete in the global marketplace. And emerging fin-tech solutions provide invaluable digital financial tools that bolster the financial health and sustainability of mom-and-pop shops around the nation.
Indeed, the Pan Asian American community has played an indispensable role in making America the global leader in technology. The products and services they create are essential to the very backbone of our national security, our economic prosperity, and the advancement of our shared values at home and across the globe.
But we cannot take America’s tech leadership position for granted. A recent report found that the United States has fallen behind an increasingly influential China in 37 of 44 categories of strategically important technologies. We need to keep investing and keep leveraging the talents of the Pan Asian American community because the country with the strongest technology and innovation abilities will secure a significant national security and economic advantage going into the next century.
The Pan Asian American community is an integral part of our nation's cultural, economic, and intellectual fabric. Through generations, they have served as a driving force for positive economic and societal progress in this country, pioneering transformative technologies that continue to enrich our lives, foster opportunity, and drive growth and prosperity.
As we celebrate their talent, ingenuity, and ground-breaking accomplishments, we must, as a nation, reaffirm our commitment to maintaining an inclusive, welcoming society where the next generation of Pan Asian American leaders can continue to innovate, thrive, and contribute to the ever-evolving tapestry of our shared American story.