Chinese billionaire Jack Ma on Wednesday basically summed up what many Filipinos have been saying about local internet speeds: “It’s no good”.
In town to receive an honorary doctorate from De La Salle University, the Alibaba Group founder – who earlier this year made his first business venture in the Philippines via a deal with Globe Telecom, Inc. — noted the need for improved internet services.
“I arrived late last night and tried to test the speed of Philippine internet. It’s no good,” he said to applause and laughter.
With people and businesses becoming increasingly dependent on the internet, Ma said the situation was an opportunity for both the private sector and the government.
“It is not the technology that changed the world. It is the dreams behind the technology that changed the world,” he said.
Dominant telcos Globe and PLDT have been criticized for the state of the country’s internet services, more so after they took over the telecommunications assets of San Miguel Corp. that had wanted to challenge the duopoly.
Ma, however, said it was unfair to blame the telco giants.
“Honestly it is unfair to blame anybody … When we started Alibaba, the internet in China was much worse than internet in the Philippines,” he said.
Globe President and CEO Ernest Cu, for his part, said rising customer numbers pointed to the quality of the telco’s services and offerings.
Noting partnerships with companies such as Netflix and Youtube, Cu told reporters that “A lot of people are using these services so we know that the network is indeed fine.”
“That’s kinda like our benchmark,” he added.
Globe Senior Vice-President Yolanda Crisanto, meanwhile, was quoted in a report as saying that Globe wanted the government to act on issues that were holding back system expansions.
“We know there is still a lot of room for improvement insofar as internet services are concerned,” Crisanto said.
PLDT spokesperson Ramon Isberto also expressed confidence with regard to the telco’s effort to improve internet services.
“We’ve been working very hard and investing heavily to improve the quality and coverage of our internet services. Though we still have much to do, these efforts have started to pay off,” Isberto claimed.
In developing the domestic internet infrastructure, Ma said the Philippines should work on a platform what would enable the sale of locally-made goods online.
He also pushed for cashless payments in a nod to the venture with Globe, which was recently cleared by the country’s competition watchdog.
Globe announced in February that Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial Services Group was investing in Globe Fintech Innovations, Inc., also known as Mynt. a wholly-owned subsidiary of Globe Capital Venture Holdings Inc. under Globe and Ayala Corp.
“The fresh capital infusion will help Mynt achieve its vision of becoming a world-class online and offline payment provider, as well as scale up its mobile wallet services and quickly expand its digital financial services,” Globe said in a disclosure.
Yesterday, Ma said Alibaba had ventured into the Philippines to “build up a cashless society for the Philippines. This is what we want.”
“We built up a good team in China. We want to build a better team in the Philippines.”
Courtesy: The Manila Times | BY REICELENE JOY IGNACIO | ON