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Evolution to drive Philippine digital economy’s growth

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THE PHILIPPINE digital economy is poised for further growth as platforms continue to evolve, driven by a young population and growing demand for online solutions, industry executives said.

“With the average age for Filipinos at 25, the growth of online payments, and consumer behavior wanting more convenience and more speed, we value time more,” Prosperna Chief Executive Office and Founder Dennis Velasco said during a panel discussion at KPMG’s Innovation Summit 2024 held on July 4.

“People are hungry to find more ways — not just via e-commerce — to save time and money,” he said.

Prosperna is an e-commerce platform that allows businesses to set up online stores to sell their products, accept payments, and book shipping.

Merchants and brands are embracing multi-channel commerce rapidly, Mr. Velasco added.

“Brands and products need to be everywhere — Facebook, Instagram, Lazada, Shopee, TikTok, — you name it,” he said. “Just like in traditional retail, instead of them having to input a lot of money on expensive rent, they can access more customers in multiple channels online.”

Payment gateway Dragonpay, for its part, found ways to integrate several payment methods into its platform and then offer a single application programming interface to merchants or the seller.

This is meant to help serve customers who do not have credit cards, Dragonpay CEO Dick Chiang said during the same discussion.

“We tried to solve the problem of financial inclusion by looking out there and figuring out what is everybody doing. Are they going to an LBC counter, Cebuana counter? Are they paying cash over the counter?,” Mr. Chang said.

Electronic platform GCash is built around problem-solving and providing consumers easier access to financial services, Mynt Chief Finance Officer Tek Olaño said. Mynt or Globe Fintech Innovations, Inc. is the parent firm of GCash.

“We always put the purpose of the company at the center of the project. We want financial innovation. We want financial health. We want to provide financial access to the Filipinos,” Mr. Olaño said.

“A lot of companies talk about artificial intelligence (AI) or wanting to be data-driven and customer-centric, but leadership makes a difference in embracing digital transformation,” Security Bank Corp. Senior Vice-President and Head of Data Science & AI Center of Excellence Criselda Q. De Sagun-Madrid said. — A.R.A. Inosante