MANILA, Philippines – Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III is set to meet with Chinese magnate Jack Ma in China in early 2018 in line with Philippine efforts to fine-tune regulations on the local e-commerce industry to help foster the sector’s growth.
Dominguez said in a statement on Thursday, November 2 that he, along with some Department of Finance (DOF) and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) officials, will hold more extensive discussions with the Alibaba founder on how to ensure an “enabling financial regulatory environment for e-commerce growth in the Philippines,” with micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) as the primary beneficiaries.
“We are planning to visit him. He invited us to have further discussions in China. We will visit him probably in January with Central Bank officials,” the country’s finance chief said.
“We’ll review the regulatory environment here so that we don’t have regulations that choke the growth of e-commerce,” Dominguez added.
During his 24-hour visit to Manila on October 25, Ma paid a courtesy call on President Rodrigo Duterte. Dominguez was among the officials who joined the meeting. (READ: A peek into Jack Ma’s 24-hour Manila visit)
Dominguez said he thanked Ma during the Palace meeting “for acting swiftly” on the Philippine government’s request to take down advertisements of digitally-printed fake cigarette tax stamps in his multibillion-dollar Internet-based selling platform Alibaba.
This was in line with the DOF campaign to combat the proliferation of counterfeit cigarette tax stamps and illicitly traded tobacco products in the Philippine market.
Next action: e-commerce
Moving forward, Dominguez said his team wants to learn from Ma in terms of empowering MSMEs in the Philippines through affordable e-commerce innovations.
“We must look at our (financial) regulations and ensure that it will not stymie the growth of our MSMEs,” Dominguez said. (READ: Jack Ma optimistic PH could be world’s best in fintech)
Ma, who started his $23-billion business empire in his small apartment in Hangzhou in China, reportedly told Dominguez during the meeting that he wants to help develop a cashless society in the Philippines and connect the country’s e-commerce markets to Europe, China, and other countries.
“Ma told us about the power of e-commerce. Today’s millennials are more comfortable doing digital transactions rather than physical transactions. He said that this is the way to the future,” Dominguez said.
Dominguez said Ma also told him about his “3-1-0” initiative, where budding entrepreneurs in China can borrow up to $5,000 online in a matter of 4 minutes without human contact.
In terms of the loan-loss rate, Dominguez said Ma informed him that the online 3-1-0 program incurs a loss of only $4 out of $10 million, as against $10 out of $100,000 for loans processed with human contact involved.
Dominguez said the DOF is exploring this online program, along with building a logistics backbone for local MSMEs.
“The whole point of the matter is if you have a digital platform like that you develop a lot of information that you can use in giving loans, and even in providing security information to the police,” he said.
The BSP led the launch the National Retail Payment System in December 2015 to create a safe, efficient, and reliable electronic retail payment system in the Philippines.
In March, the central bank came up with two electronic fund transfer payment schemes – Instapay, which caters to MSMEs; and PESO Net, which supports the bulk payment transactions of large companies. – Rappler.com
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