MANILA – Infrastructure improvements are among the factors that will further boost electronic commerce (e-commerce) in the country, along with demographics and people’s ability to adapt to innovations.
In a virtual briefing on Tuesday, Foxmont Capital Partners Managing Partner Franco Varona said while a lot of investors are focusing on Singapore for technology-related investments, the Philippines is starting to attract some of these businesses.
He said Indonesia’s experience about a decade ago, when it dominated the Southeast Asian technology-related inflows, can also happen in the Philippines since the volume of funds that entered the former are now looking at other areas to be invested in.
“So what does that actually mean for the Philippines? That actually means that the Singaporeans are sitting in Singapore with a lot of capital to deploy, that are looking at other different places that they can do it outside of Indonesia. And this is where, I think, the Philippines becomes extremely interesting,” he added.
Varona said the Philippines’ over 109 million population is a major factor for investors to consider, especially since more Filipinos are now social media-savvy and are buying more things online.
He said more businesses are now using online platforms and a number of these businesses started operations or using online platforms at the start of the pandemic.
“That actually means that there is really a large, you know, quick growth in the Philippine market,” he said.
This growth, Varona said, is being noticed by Singaporean investors.
“Once more and more (investors) notice that we will then be on the same path as Indonesia 10 years ago,” he said, citing the improvement in infrastructure such as putting up more telecommunication towers.
Alexander Friedhoff, co-founder and chief executive officer of e-commerce enabler Etaily, forecasts a billion-level e-commerce market for the Philippines by 2025.
“We can definitely say that developments due to the pandemic will be even going in a significantly higher direction,” he said.
Etaily, a Philippine-based end-to-end omni-channel solutions provider, recently got a USD1.6-million (around PHP80.6 million) seed funding from large business in the country like Ayala Ventures, Foxmont Capital Partners, Magsaysay Shipping & Logistics, and Boston Consulting Group.
Friedhoff said the funding will allow the company to help boost e-commerce operations of businesses operating in the country to expand presence in the region.
“We will not allow the retail apocalypse that happened in the US and in Europe because we are giving traditional retailers the digital fighting chance to compete for the local as well as regional market,” he added.