Chinese technology billionaire and Alibaba founder Jack Ma yesterday said the Philippines has the opportunity to embrace advance payment systems such as electronic commerce and electronic payment due to the prevalence of mobile phones.
Ma, in an open forum at the De La Salle University, said with wide penetration of mobile phone, the Philippines can become a cashless society where there is “no corruption (and) life is easy.”
Ma also urged small and medium enterprises which comprise 99 percent of the businesses in the Philippines to adopt technology to sustain business growth and expand globally.
Ma said the old economy should not be scared to change and adopt to technology, adding that change would make a difference in their companies in the first two to three years.
“The old economy should not fear but (it) should change immediately … I’ve been doing that in China for many years , telling people (of) the new business model…, “ Ma said .
Ant Financial Group a company owned by Ma is expected to extend the advance mobile services of e-commerce platform Alibaba in the Philippines through its investment in Globe Telecom Inc. unit Globe Fintech Innovations Inc. (or Mynt) which is wholly owned by Globe Capital Venture.
Ma was present during the formal relaunch of GCash which was opened to the retail industry to allow customers to make cashless payments using their mobile phones.
Ma encouraged small business in the Philippines to expand to e-commerce.
“As long as your service is good, your product is good you should , enable to compete with any big companies this is my belief,” said Ma.
GCash is expected to double its 5 million active GCashusers by next year driven by the aggressive expansion of electronic payments services to the retail industry.
Albert Tinio, GCash president and chief executive officer, said it took Globe 12 years to reach 5 million GCashusers but he is optimistic this would double by 2018 with the expansion of GCash’s use by the retail industry making purchase easier and convenient for consumers.
Currently, 400 merchants or retail firms acceptGCash as an alternative payment for cash. Tinio said this would increase to 4,000 merchants by yearend as the company is on track to further expand the electronic payment to merchants in all the Ayala Malls.
GCash’s monthly transaction volume is at P6 billion and the companyexpects this to growfurther as the adoption of GCash increases.
According to Tinio, bulk of the transactions are buying load, sending money, paying bills and retail purchases. While retail is still small,most of the transactionsare expected to come from retail as GCash continues to expand its services.
With the expertise of Alipay Singapore Holding Pte, a unit of Ant Financial Group , Globe is optimistic it would sustain the growth of GCash services in the country, said Tinio.
The recent joint venture of Ant Financial, Globe and Ayala Corp. is seen to speed up the country’s digitization to make the lives of Filipinos much easier as it opened the Philippine retail industry to electronic payments through GCash.
Globe Fintech is 45 percent owned by Alipay, 45 percent by Globe Venture and 10 percent by Ayala.
MYLA IGLESIAS (Malaya)