More than just a telco
A FILIPINO brand is not merely being about indigenous crafts, products, tourism, or a beautiful country, according to Ernest Cu, Globe Telecom president, and chief executive officer (CEO), as it also comes in a newfound “strength of digital transformation” in the Philippines.
At the first-ever online World Fintech Festival, Cu said that investing in digital transformation is a pathway for the local economy to keep running and thriving during and beyond the pandemic. Technology is not just a tool as it can become a catalyst and an instrument in nation-building.
Globe, a service provider of choice for over 80 million customers nationwide, cemented its position as a leader in providing for the Filipino digital lifestyle.
The telco has pushed for new digital businesses under the country’s largest corporate incubator 917Ventures, its wholly-owned subsidiary that houses Globe Fintech Innovations Inc. (Mynt), which operates mobile wallet GCash, digital advertising firm AdSpark, and telehealth service, KonsultaMD and the HealthNow app.
Cu added 917Ventures holds all of Globe’s incubated products and services that are “beyond telco.”
Through exploring the potentials of digital transformation, “Globe is confident the country can catch up with the rest of the region in terms of information and communication technology adoption,” he noted, particularly significant segments such as advanced medicine, health, and wellness, and delivery of basic services like education and financial inclusion through fintech.
Pioneering the tech scene, GCash has reported its transaction volumes flowing through its platforms hit P1 trillion. To date, GCash transactions are peaking at a PHP 7.5 billion daily gross transaction value, and with more than 6 million transactions a day. The mobile wallet company also grew its users to 33 million in 2020, a 65% growth versus last year.
Over the past few months, Cu added that GCash has grown from an app that people turn to for convenience to become a necessary platform for their daily tasks.
Offering essential services for Filipinos to adapt to the new normal lifestyle, GCash believes it can unlock more digital avenues to make Filipinos’ lives more bearable during this crisis.
In 2021, Cu anticipates that opportunities await the Philippines to become the innovation hub of Asia and, hopefully, in future, the world. “We have tremendous partnering capabilities and a proper reputation, and we partner with the best of the world,” Cu stressed. The telco also houses an excellent team of people and talent it can repurpose to build solutions for this country, plus the financial muscle to do so.
917Ventures was designed to formalize incubating businesses’ efforts to provide digital solutions that will make Filipinos’ lives much easier. Cu added Globe had worked many years in trying to shape Filipino digital habits.
“The journey now is being focused on getting people to go digital when it comes to financing,” Cu said. However, the telco will continue to scour available opportunities given the lack of infrastructure and solutions, which may be present in other segments.
Powered by 917Ventures, and Vigos Health, a subsidiary of AC Health, HealthNow, for instance, is poised to be the largest primary care provider in the country, to simplify the way Filipinos care for their health. It offers phone and video consultations, prescription issuance, medicine delivery, and schedule appointments through partner clinics and laboratories.
The other thing that emerged from the pandemic was also an effort that Globe has focused on, such as enhancing the Filipino online grocery shopping experience, Cu said.
917Ventures has partnered with PureGold to create an online grocery shopping platform PureGo where customers can seamlessly order from the comfort of their home and have the products delivered in less than 24 hours.
Cu added that the partnership combines the supermarket’s supply chain and operational expertise with the telco’s knowledge in digital analytics and marketing.
AdSpark, on the other hand, is a full service, data-driven agency helping brands create human connections through digital and more intuitive advertising solutions.
The telco believes in the principle and philosophy of ‘one plus one is equal to three’ and explores other ways it can leverage, such as Globe and partners’ skills, to develop a product instantly, scale, and satisfy customers at the end of the day, Cu noted.
“We need to be an enabler of recovery for our countrymen and use digital means to help them cope with life’s difficulties,” Cu said, but this can only be done if infrastructure, products, and services are ready to serve the Filipino.”
Besides Cu, some of the biggest names have also shared their insights on the country’s future, embracing a digital transformation.
Senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao has recently thrown his hat into the fintech space, being an investor and CEO of his own payments company that will make transactions easier.
Sustainable, inclusive competitiveness in the future is the goal, Justo “Tito” Ortiz, UnionBank of the Philippines vice chairman and Fintech Philippines Association chairman, said at the online festival, which can only be achieved if “we take a whole country approach and become digital at the core.”
Sharon Dayoan, KPMG chairman and CEO, for her part, said that different players in the digital transformation ecosystem have to work together so that the biggest industries can tech up and work toward ‘Digital Pilipinas’.
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