Chinese state media outlet, Xinhua, reported that the
Philippines Government is considering using Alibaba’s financial technology
solutions to lower remittance costs for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs)
and offer them other online-based banking and financial management services.
Upon the invitation of Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma, a
Philippine delegation including Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, Foreign
Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Bangko
Sentral ng Pilipinas Deputy Governor Maria Almasara Cyd Tuaño Amador, Bases
Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) president Vivencio Dizon and other
government officials and representatives from the Philippines’ business sector
attended a three-day New Economy Workshop organised by the Alibaba Business School.
In a statement Secretary Dominguez said
that the insights gained during the workshop will help the Duterte
administration understand how to optimise the use of technology to improve
governance and prepare Filipinos for the future under a digital economy.
The Workshop presented a series of lectures on how digital
technology applications can be used to empower small businesses
and expand their access to online credit, improve logistics networks, and improve traffic management.
One of the primary objectives of the workshop was to gain a
wider understanding of an e-commerce ecosystem including the digital
technologies that can be employed to improve the Philippines’ nascent online
payment system in pursuit of inclusive growth.
Xiongwen Rui, vice president and head of the Security and
Risk Management division of Ant Financial, discussed how the company uses data
and technology to manage financial risks. He said that Ant Financial’ s
e-payment service, Alipay, has a fraud-loss rate of less than 0.01 basis
Ant Financial uses a dynamic QR code which does not contain
any credit card information, along with a payment password and a fingerprint
verification system, so that even if one’s smartphone is stolen, the e-wallet
uploaded there would be useless.
The company also offers micro loans to businesses under a
“3-1-0” process, which means it takes only three minutes to borrow and one
minute to approve the loan that are all done with zero human intervention.
Zeng Ming, chairman of the Academic Committee of the Alibaba
Group and dean of the Alibaba Business School, narrated how the Alibaba Group
evolved into a technology conglomerate and spearheaded the growth of e-commerce
in China to help millions of small enterprises bloom and gain access to
On the third and final day of the workshop, the applications
of cloud computing and big data platforms to improve various aspects of society
was discussed – from improving traffic flow and law enforcement to managing
financial risks and heightening cybersecurity measures.
Dr. Jian Wang, chairman of the Technology Steering Committee
of the Alibaba Group, provided the Philippine delegation an overview of
Alibaba’s cloud service and its proprietary Artificial Intelligence program
dubbed the “City Brain”, which powers smart cities by integrating and analysing
large amounts of heterogeneous data from a wide range of sources and in
multiple formats. By providing a deep learning model to manage traffic, it is
helping city administrators make “smart” decisions to alleviate congestion,
handle accidents and enhance the efficiency of roads and the public transport
system. For example, the system can be help in rapid response to traffic
accidents or providing the data to redesign parts of the city to reduce vehicle
Wang said, “Real-time data extracted from the systems can be
analysed to optimize urban traffic flow, such as by identifying the quickest
route for emergency response vehicles,” he said.
Alibaba’s City Brain was deployed
in Hangzhou, China in 2016. According to Reuters,
the system produced reports of traffic violations with up to 92 percent
accuracy, emergency vehicles reaching their destinations in half the time and
overall increase in traffic speed by 15 percent. Its first deployment outside
of China was announced
recently for the city of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.
“The real purpose of doing this is really to see how our
government can improve the people’s lives—because that’s essentially the job of
the government—how to improve people’s lives not only for tomorrow but for the
future,” Dominguez said at the close of the Workshop, the first overseas
government training program organized by the Alibaba Business School.
Secretary Dominguez said one important factor that the
participants learned and will keep in mind is to “make sure that there are no
regulations that will choke the growth of improving our governance to the wise
use of big data and interconnectivity.”
According to Alibaba, the New Economy program for government
officials will be expanded to more countries in Southeast Asia, underlining the
company’s commitment to promoting the new economy paradigm and the role of
e-commerce in creating a more inclusive trade and development system.