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Philippines: The Dark Horse No More?

From upgrades of the transportation infrastructure to enforcing anti-drug laws, the Duterte Administration has certainly taken bold steps at an attempt to execute a complete overhaul of the country to make it a much more viable destination for businesses. 

Digital initiatives has been identified as one of the key areas that would bolster Philippine's growth and the government has committed to 5 – 7% spending on infrastructure. Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) and non-profit group Internet Society (ISOC) has also collaborated to develop the National ICT Ecosystem Framework (NIEF) 2022.

The NIEF seeks to foster an environment that includes integrated planning and policy measures to encourage different parties to use ICT collaboratively while promoting accessibility, security and sustainability.

At the end of 2018, China Telecom was also allowed to be the third telecommunications service provider in the Philippines, ending the duopoly of the local telecoms. The government hopes that the new telecom will drive more innovation and improve the state of connectivity in the country, a common complaint among users who have suffered for years with slow internet speeds (ranked 5th slowest globally by the 2019 We Are Social report).

In the same year, the Department of Education (DepEd) also partnered with telecommunications company Globe to implement a digital literacy program across 3,800 public schools in Central Visayas to educate both teachers and students about responsible digital citizenship.

With a young majority working population (Philippines, among her ASEAN neighbors, has the most balanced population pyramid with a heavy base and a light top of only 5% of the population above the age of 65), such education and training programs can help the Filipinos become more agile in adapting to the future developments of the global digital economy. As majority of the the current jobs will likely be transformed in the next 3 years due to digital disruption, careful policies to upskill, reskill and educate the young workforce could put Philippines ahead in the digital era.

Combined with:

  1. Philippines leading the world in terms of number of hours spent on the internet (10 hours 2 minutes per day compared to the global average of 6 hours 42 minutes) and
  2. The number of mobile users in Philippines (61.0 million) greater than the total population of Malaysia, Cambodia, Laos, Singapore and Brunei combined

Philippines is a market with huge potential for growth in this digital revolution. 

A report by Microsoft highlighted that digital transformation is estimated to add US$8 billion to Philippines’ GDP by 2021, adding 0.4% CAGR GDP growth annually. Philippines’ GDP contributed by digital technologies such as cloud, Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) is projected to increase from 3% to 40% between 2017 and 2021.

How well do you think Philippines would be able to capitalize on this digital opportunity? What are some of the key issues Philippines will need to solve to make the digital roadmap a successful one?

Join us this July 24 & 25 in Manila Marriott as we discuss these topics with DICT and other key stakeholders at the 30th Asia IoT Business Platform.


By Yue Yeng Fong | July 3rd, 2019

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