PH officials to seek Jack Ma’s help

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Chinese Business magnate and founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group Jack Ma shares his experience during a forum with the students of De La Salle University students in Taft Avenue, Manila.
INQUIRER PHOTO / RICHARD A. REYES

Philippine finance and central bank officials will meet with Jack Ma, one of Asia’s richest men, in China next year to seek more advice on how to further grow the domestic e-commerce sector.

In a statement Thursday, the Department of Finance (DOF) said Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III and Ma, the founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba, met in Malacañang last week, during which the finance chief also expressed gratitude as the Chinese tycoon in April took down advertisements of fake cigarette tax stamps posted on alibaba.com.

To recall, the DOF found counterfeit Philippine tobacco tax stamps being sold on the website of e-commerce giant Alibaba in March.

Also during their meeting, Dominguez and Ma discussed ways on how to empower micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the Philippines through affordable electronic commerce innovations that were pioneered by the Chinese business magnate.

“We are planning to visit him. He invited us to have further discussions in China. We will visit him probably in January with central bank officials,” Dominguez said.

In this regard, “we’ll review the regulatory environment here so that we don’t have regulations that choke the growth of e-commerce,” Dominguez added.

“We must look at our financial regulations and ensure that these will not stymie the growth of our MSMEs,” according to Dominguez.

For his part, Ma was quoted by the DOF as telling Dominguez during their meeting that “he wants to help develop the digital market in the Philippines to create a cashless society and connect the country’s e-commerce markets to other markets in Europe, China and other countries across the globe.”

“Ma said he wants to assist developing countries like the Philippines in building their digital technologies so that even small enterprises can benefit from globalization,” the DOF said.

Ma also disclosed to Dominguez his plan to invest in the Philippines’ service industry in the next five years, the DOF added.

“The Philippines has the best service and has the heart to become a key player in the industry,” according to Ma.

“Such e-commerce innovations pioneered by Ma, along with building a logistics backbone for MSMEs in the country, are now being explored by the DOF to help empower micro and small entrepreneurs and prepare them for the e-commerce revolution,” Dominguez said.

“Ma told us about the power of e-commerce. Today’s millennials are more comfortable doing digital transactions rather than physical transactions. He said that this is the way to the future. The whole point of the matter is if you have a digital platform like that you develop a lot of information that you can use in giving loans and even in providing security information to the police,” Dominguez added.

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