Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Philippines has 45% Mobile Phone Penetration

Although mobile phone sales have gone up globally, carriers like PLDT are expecting slower growth in 2007 as penetration rate in the country attained 45% of the population.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Philippines no longer #1 on online fraud worldwide

Two months ago, I mentioned about the Philippines being #1 in online fraud worldwide. Apparently, we are no longer that as the local bank and payment processor responsible for it was just sanctioned and have their credit card processing license revoked and heavily penalized by the major credit card networks. This comes in as good news.

It seems the stringent efforts by credit card companies are paying off as online fraud is slighty lower this year. Small merchants are hit hardest by online fraud. Fraudsters pocket US$3 billion from US e-commerce sites this year.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Social Networks: More Tools, Younger Market Segment, Altering Advertisement Revenue

For the past two years, we've seen how social networking sites became increasingly popular in the Philippines. It even spurred the creation of localized social networking sites.

For 2007, a lot of social networking endeavors that will be launched online will heavily focused on new niche networks, the pre-teen girls market to be exact.

Digital Media Exchange, Inc., an online game distributor and digital entertainment provider based in the Philippines, has just released its family-oriented website mobiuskids in the Philippines, Singapore and Malaysia. The site offers educational games and activities centered on child learning and family interaction. Upon launch, it introduced two popular casual online games -- Disney's massively multiplayer online game Toontown Online and virtual pet game GoPets. The site also has a child-centered social networking feature, arcade game downloads, piggybank, task scheduler, and goal tracker.

Last month, SanrioTown was also launched. New features were added on the existing online community services such as forum and free e-mail as well as download services, new social networking features havebeen launched on Sanriotown, which already has a current user-base of almost 2 million world wide.

Globe Telecom also launched myGlobe IMEVRYWHR integrated communications service. This allows users to share information using a range of integrated voice, messaging, content options, G-Cash services, Share-A-Load service, and AskG search function. Globe Telecom's partner in this service is fastmobile who announced a partnership with Yahoo! early this year to bring its multimedia features to select Yahoo! mobile users. Its Yahoo! Messenger application enables users to send voice instant messages or cameraphone photos within an active conversation.

This is perhaps the way to go in social networking too as it is predicted that there'll be 174 million mobile social communities members worlwide by 2011, according to an ABI Research Brief, and has found that "mobile social communities" currently count nearly 50 million members worldwide. This opens opportunities to monetize for carriers and value-added service providers.

This dynamic growth on the Internet is also affecting advertising spending and revenue impact. Google generates more revenue now compared to traditional TV networks.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Pinoy Won in Yahoo Talent Show

Rex Hermogino is Yahoo!'s first Talent Show winner! Congratulations!!!

Level-Up to Launch Perfect World in the Philippines

Beijing Perfect World Technology Co., Ltd. just signed a contract for the large-scale 3D fantasy online game "Perfect World" with Level Up! Inc. of the Philippines. The two companies reached a consensus regarding the distribution of "Perfect World" to Philippine gamers in the near future. Level Up! is presumed to have paid US$800,000 for the license fees.

Perfect World's entry in the Philippines is coming at a time when more and more Filipinos are playing online games.

Perfect World is a 3D online game that starts from a traditional Chinese myth that Pangu built the sky, land and people. The game created a particular historical period and took players to times of old, with its epic backgrounds and grandiose story content.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Philippine hotels accepting online reservation and payment

Makati Prime Tower Suites in Makati City is one of the few local hotels that I know who is boasting its capability to deliver instantly confirmed, payment-guaranteed reservations online. Hmmmm.......

Chikka hits 30 million

Chikka, a Filipino dotcom success story, just hit 30 million subscribers since is launched its service 5 years ago. The growth is highly attributed by its instant messaging product which is now on version 4. The Chikka version 4 is also interoperable with Google Talk.

Monday, December 04, 2006

More non-bank plastic cards for Filipinos

According to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, money sent home by millions of Filipinos working overseas is forecast to hit a record US$14.1 billion next year. That is why you have new companies like World Cash developing ATM cards to facilitate the transfer and easy withdrawal of money.

Some Filipinos cashing on this trend are also building value added-services on top of card. Polytron, a telecommunications firm based in Silicon Valley, has hit on a technology that combines in one plastic the convenience of a bank card and an international phone card that can be used to call at least 250 countries. It calls the spending card Global Express Money or GEM.

These players will add to the growing and highly competitive money remittance market in the country. Those who will be sensitive to the situation of Filipino families are the ones who will likely be creative in developing new value-added services.

Opposition to Open Source Bill

Last July, I blogged about the Open Source Bill that was filed at the House of Representatives. The Philippine Software Industry Association issued a position paper not supporting the bill. The Philippine Computer Society expressed the same.

At this time, I think all this bill got is publicity. With charter change and elections being prioritized in Congress, it is unlikely that anything will happen with this bill from now till May of next year.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Filipinos motivation for sending money

Dr. Joaquin Gonzalez, director of Philippine Studies at the University of San Francisco, is studying the link between immigration and the spirituality of Filipino-Americans.

Gonzalez initially discovered that over half of those surveyed send at least $100 to $500 monthly to the Philippines. The study, to be presented early next year, also looks at the motivation for the act of sending money. Some of the present reasons include:
  • Supporting grandparents and parents (24%)
  • relatives' health care needs (22%)
  • housing mortgage (18%)
  • school payments of direct children and nieces or grandchildren (18%)

Money is send usually using money transfer companies (47%), bank channels (32%), and courier channels (21%).

Money remittance is one of the most lucrative business today in the country due to the increasing number of Filipinos working or migrating overseas. Comparing this to our OFW Internet Habits report, the only change is the increasing trust to money remittance companies. Banks used to be the primary medium for this purpose.

Organizations like UNCTAD also sees remittance as a development tool and urges countries, like the Philippines, largely benefiting from the inflow of currency to tap its potential other than further pushing consumption.

As most overseas Filipino workers are women, The World Economic Forum's latest Global Gender Gap Index found the Philippines to be doing more to empower women than the United States, Britain, Canada or Australia. Of 115 nations examined in 2006, the Philippines placed sixth, well ahead of the United States at 22nd (Sweden was first). Although women may be more economically empowered, it is a sad reality that Filipinas abroad are at high risk as well.

Jobstreet - number 1 job site in the Philippines

If and com can considered as Philippines success dotcom stories to the world, JobStreet is indeed Malaysia's very own success story thriving in many countries. Whenever Filipinos go online to look for job openings, they are likely to visit websites such as JobStreet. The site is also referred to as one of the top or most visited job website in the country, in our recent surveys.

Cyber-libel: Stop blaming the E-Commerce Law!

This column piece has definitely agitated me. The columnist is referring to a recent ruling in the US about a libel case that favored the accused. In one way or another, he just stepped into accusing the E-Commerce Law for being inept in prosecuting cyber-criminals in the country.

Here is my thinking on the issue.

The Philippines E-Commerce Law or Republic Act 8792 did not change any law. However, it strengthened all existing laws by recognizing its electronic counterpart. Therefore, laws covering libel cases are now empowered to recognize its electronic counterparts. That is why you have cases where the likes of celebrity / actress Kris Aquino suing GMA 7 in the past and used e-mail printouts as her evidence. That case resulted to a settlement. If it proceeded and she lost, it will depend on how she lost and thereby which law is to blame. If it's the insufficiency of the case, being considered a libel, then laws covering libel should be the one amended.

If she loses based on evidence presentation, proving authenticity, originality, among others, then that is where the E-Commerce Law can be scrutinized.

With regards to cybercrime, it is not the E-Commerce Law that is weak, it is the implementation and allocation of funding. I'm always paranoid whenever I encounter instances where people can easily be comfortable in blaming a law rather than looking at its implementation. Our cybercrime enforcement is weak because government leaders are not yet fully aware and neither excited in allocating funding to it due to other priorities. Therefore, this is where we should unite and call on government to allocate resources to combat cybercrime.

Mobile phone sales growing globally

Global mobile phone sales raced ahead by 21.5 percent to 251 million units in the third quarter of the current calendar year, powered by strong growth in Asia. Gartner said that in emerging markets, the growth of retailers and the expansion of distribution channels have enhanced sales, particularly in India, Indonesia and the Philippines. In Asia/Pacific, sales rose to 80.8 million units, a 54.7 percent increase from the same quarter last year.

Nokia also remained as the number 1 mobile phone globally.

A lot of opportunities are happening in the mobile phone market. The US is gradually embracing the use of the mobile phone device for electronic payments too. It is an indispensable tool as well for disaster relief coordination.

24% PC penetration among small business in the Philippines

In my talks, I always mention the low penetration of computers in the Philippines. However, we are not alone. This the same case in four of the most populous countries of Asia i.e. India, China, Indonesia and the Philippines. According to a study conducted by the New York-headquartered Access Markets International (AMI) Partners Inc, PC penetration among small businesses in the Philippines is pegged at 24%.

There are many ways that PC penetration can be improved. This includes making ICT affordable to SMEs. It is important for PC, software, training, website, e-commerce development providers, among others to offer easy to pay terms. Help is available to make this happen by IT vendors through the SME-FIT program or Financing for Information Technology Build-Up for SMEs.