The Philippines is mulling tapping Alibaba's financial technology solutions through its related company Ant Financial to lower remittance costs for the Philippines' over 10 million migrant workers and offer them other online-based banking and financial management services.
In a statement released on Thursday, Philippine Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said Ant Financial's low-cost mobile payment technology that has helped China attain financial inclusion for its small home-based enterprises can be tapped to help overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) send money back home and prudently manage their finances.
The Overseas Filipinos Bank (OFB), which is based in Manila, can be the launching pad for this online payment platform, Dominguez said.
OFB was launched last month by President Rodrigo Duterte to cater to the financial needs of not only OFWs but other foreign-based Filipinos as well.
"There are over 10 million Filipinos working abroad, Ant Financial's technology is helpful for them. The technology can help them manage their cash, their earnings wisely," said Dominguez.
Dominguez, along with Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Central Bank of the Philippines Deputy Governor Maria Almasara Cyd Tuano Amador, Bases Conversion and Development Authority president Vivencio Dizon and other government officials and representatives from the Philippines' business sector attended the Alibaba Business School's three-day New Economy Workshop.
The workshop was organized following the invitation last year of Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma for Dominguez and other Philippine officials to learn more about Alibaba's digital infrastructure for e-commerce.
Eric Jing, the chief executive officer of the Ant Financial Services Group, said his company would be more than willing to partner with the Philippines to bring inclusive financial services to OFWs and as well as other individuals and Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises.
Alibaba delegates also showed the Philippine delegation its unmanned restaurant here, the Wufangzhai, where customers order by scanning the QR codes, and independently pick up and clear away their meals before paying with their smartphones.
Dominguez said the lectures prepared by Alibaba revolved "around the points discussed during my meeting with Jack Ma last November in Manila."