Philippines Government Ministers Make Trip to Learn from Alibaba


Alibaba’s Xixi Park ushered in 25 special guests this week, one of whom is Carlos G. Dominguez, Treasury Secretary of the Philippines. The delegation from the Philippines included five ministerial officials who made a special trip to Hangzhou to explore innovative approaches to financial regulation and digital technology. By attending Alibaba’s study program, they aim to empower SMEs in the Philippines to do better business.

During the three-day trip, Jianxun Wang, VP of Alibaba Group and GM of Alibaba’s Rural Division, gave a speech on the development of rural e-commerce in China. Mr. Dominguez responding saying he hoped the information would enable him to achieve such leapfrog style development in the Philippines.“We are particularly interested in predicting future trends,” he stated.

Leader of the Alibaba Group for Globalization, Ying Zhao, stated that Alibaba would provide knowledge, open discussion, and field visits relating to e-commerce. The visits would highlight finance initiatives, Alibaba’s ‘Rural Taobao’ program, and ‘City Brain’, its smart logistics program, to help develop the digital economy in the Philippines.

Benjamin E. Diokno, Philippine Budget and Management Minister, responded to the trip saying, “it is unusual for any well-known company to share its secrets so generously.”When Alibaba CEO Jack Ma visited the Philippines in October 2017, his discussion with President Rodrigo Duterte and Treasury Secretary Dominguez included developing friendly regulatory policies for SMEs. Shortly after that, Dominguez issued a statement saying, “I’m looking forward to further consulting with Jack Ma because he can ensure that the policies we put in place will not stifle e-commerce development in the Philippines.”

Dominguez believes that government policy should make it easy for citizens to start and operate SMEs, rather than relegating enterprise to those with advanced degrees. He was particularly impressed by how Rural Taobao enables local farmers to sell agricultural products directly to increase their income.  Rural Taobao is a strategic project of Alibaba Group that cooperates with local governments to build a service network to enable rural people to use e-commerce platforms. Alibaba is committed to building a bridge that connects farmers and crops with cities and urbanites. Pingqing Li, an elderly red rice farmer in Yunnan Province, can now sell his rice for more than twice the market price via Rural Taobao. His annual income is now over 5,000 RMB (US$800).

Jianxun Wang stated that when developing e-commerce and inclusive finance in areas with weak infrastructure, the most pressing demand is internet infrastructure. During his visit to the Philippines, Jack Ma openly complained about the Philippines poor internet speed and called on the government, enterprises, and citizens to improve network coverage. Ma stated,“We must make sure that everyone can use the internet.  If you connect to the internet, you are moving. If you’re moving, you’re everywhere.”

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