PLDT open to Chinese strategic partners
MANILA, Philippines – As speculation of a 3rd player breaking into the Philippines' telecommunications industry heats up, PLDT Incorporated expressed interest in finding strategic partners of its own.
"We welcome any 3rd, 4th, or 5th player with whatever the government chooses to do," PLDT chairman Manuel Pangilinan said on the sidelines of a Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) event on Monday, November 27.
Earlier this month, President Rodrigo Duterte himself invited Chinese companies to enter the Philippine market and end the telco duopoly between PLDT and Globe Telecom.
China Mobile Limited and China Telecom Corporation Limited are said to be eyeing local partners.
Pangilinan, for his part, said PLDT is also open to partnering with Chinese firms, either to bolster one of its units or possibly to create a new entity.
"I think it's a rather novel idea and it's something we should consider, either at the PLDT level or at the Voyager level or both," he said.
Voyager Innovations Incorporated is a digital innovation firm wholly owned by PLDT. It is involved in fintech through PayMaya, e-commerce, and digital marketing.
"Voyager is in the process of looking for strategic partners and it is possible that we may have a Chinese partner," Pangilinan said, adding that the firm is in talks.
"They will either invest in the parent firm Voyager itself or one of the verticals – marketing technology, fintech, or its cashless payment system, or the platform for lending. But most likely they will come in Voyager level."
Pangilinan gave no details on the timeframe.
If the deal does push through, PLDT would follow in the footsteps of its rival in looking to bolster its digital presence with the help of an investor. (READ: Globe, PLDT battle it out in cashless payments)
Earlier this month, Globe and its fintech arm Globe Fintech Innovations Incorporated (Mynt) announced a partnership with Jack Ma's Ant Financial.
One of the early fruits of that partnership was the launch of the GoPay QR code payment system through Globe's GCash in August.
Last week, another Chinese internet giant, Tencent, launched its WeChat cashless payment service through a partnership with Asia United Bank. – Rappler.com