PH delegation to meet Jack Ma this week | Source: AP

Alibaba Business School to help MSMEs go digital in the Philippines

TECHNOLOGY adoption in the Philippines is low, especially when it comes to payments tech and e-commerce. However, the Government is keen on changing that and leveling up with its peers in Asia.

A number of the representatives of the Philippines’ Department of Finance (DOF) and Central Bank will be heading to China tomorrow to attend a program designed to boost the potential of the country’s local small businesses. During their trip, the delegation will be meeting Alibaba founder Jack Ma, before attending a series of lectures at Alibaba Business School.

The DOF and Central Bank delegates are expected to participate in a series of pertinent e-commerce-related lectures from 31 January to 2 February 2018.

The program, which the Alibaba Business School states is specifically developed for the delegation, will cover a variety of topics, from using cashless payment methods, tapping entrepreneurs from the far reaches of the country, and developing a regulatory environment that fosters growth and progress for the nation’s MSMEs.

In a statement to Chinese state-backed news outlet Xinhua, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III stated that he is optimistic about what he and his colleagues would learn in Alibaba’s Business School. Dominguez serves as the leader of the delegation, and he is set to meet Alibaba founder Jack Ma on Thursday before heading off to Alibaba Business School for the three-day New Economy Workshop program.

“We will look at the financial regulations in China and explore how we can tap digital technologies to empower our micro, small and medium enterprises (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, according to a Xinhua report.

As for Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant stated that it is optimistic about the upcoming training of the delegates this week. According to the Jack Ma-led firm, the New Economy Workshop has several potential benefits for the developing Southeast Asian nation.

“(The workshop is) tailor-fitted to the Philippine setting (and) 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 Business School noted in a statement to Xinhua.

This is not the first time that members of the delegation have brushed shoulders with Alibaba. Late last year, Dominguez managed to spend some time with the Alibaba founder when the billionaire entrepreneur visited Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in Malacañang, the Chief Executive’s residence, as noted in a GMA News report. It was then that Ma extended his invitation to the Finance Secretary to visit China. During that time, Ma also expressed his desire to ensure an ‘enabling financial regulatory environment’ in the Philippines.

The Philippines is still in the process of embracing the digital transformation of small businesses, with many entrepreneurs across the country still unaware of the potential and benefits of doing business in the virtual landscape. Even recent technologies such as cashless payments are fairly new to both merchants and consumers in the Southeast Asian country. With this in mind, the lessons that will be learned by the delegation at the Alibaba Business School would likely result in benefits for the country’s MSMEs.