(Source: Inquirer.net | January 29, 2018)
The head of the Duterte administration’s economic team and Asia’s richest man Jack Ma will discuss in China ways for small businesses in the Philippines to grow by tapping digital commerce, according to the Department of Finance (DOF).
The DOF said Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III would lead a delegation of central bank and finance officials to meet with Ma, the founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba.
The meeting between the Philippine officials and Ma will “explore innovations in digital commerce that will help fuel the growth of the Philippines’ micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and help attain the Duterte administration’s goal of financial inclusion,” the DOF said.
Starting Jan. 31, the Philippine delegation will attend lectures until Feb. 2 at the Alibaba Business School, which implements the Alibaba Group’s e-commerce training system.
The e-commerce giant’s head office and the business school are located next to each other. The school was established in 2008 with the Hangzhou Normal University of China “to enable the growth of SMEs by giving them comprehensive learning opportunities in the digital economy,” according to the DOF.
The lecture series was “designed to gain a wider understanding of an e-commerce ecosystem including the digital technologies that can be employed to improve the Philippines’ nascent online payment system,” the DOF added.
During the lectures, “we will look at the financial regulations in China and explore how we can tap digital technologies to empower our MSMEs, especially those in the countryside, the same way that Jack Ma did to help small enterprises in China gain a foothold in the global e-commerce industry,” Dominguez said.
The lecture will be helpful as the Duterte administration “aims to put in place a secure, seamless and efficient digital payment system in the country to make it financially inclusive, enabling Filipinos to sell and buy online and easily tap credit facilities even with limited loan histories,” Dominguez added.
Quoting the Alibaba Business School, the DOF said the three-day “new economy workshop” it organized was “tailor-fit to the Philippine setting” as well as “will incorporate firsthand experience with real-life e-commerce applications in an effort to provide a framework for creating a regulatory environment that encourages growth across the fintech (financial technology), logistics, e-commerce and big data industries.”
“Alibaba’s three-day workshop focuses on expanding knowledge and demonstrating real life e-commerce applications to help attain this goal. The workshop lectures include topics on e-commerce development in China, inclusive finance through digital technologies; rural e-commerce development, and smart logistics in the digital economy,” the DOF said.
“Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing arm of Alibaba Group, will also include a lecture on the use of artificial intelligence (AI) for smart traffic management, which could become a useful tool to help ease congestion in Metro Manila’s major thoroughfares,” the DOF added.
Last November, Dominguez and Ma met when the latter visited President Duterte, telling the former that he wanted to “help develop the digital market in the Philippines to create a cashless society and connect the country’s e-commerce markets to other markets in Europe, China and other countries across the globe.”
“Ma said he wants to assist developing countries like the Philippines in building their digital technologies so that even small enterprises can benefit from globalization,” the DOF said in November.
Ma had also disclosed to Dominguez his plan to invest in the Philippines’ service industry in the next five years, according to the DOF.
“The Philippines has the best service and has the heart to become key players in the industry,” Ma had been quoted by the DOF as saying.
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