MANILA - Electronic commerce is growing "very fast" in the Philippines, with 65 percent of the population online and using their mobile devices as a "remote control" for commerce and entertainment, Google's country manager said Thursday.
As more people go online, internet speeds pick up, and more merchants like Lazada, Alibaba and Shopee enter the market, e-commerce has the potential to become a $10-billion industry, Google Philippines country head Kenneth Lingan said.
Since Google set up shop in the Philippines 5 years ago, the number of Filipinos online had doubled to 65 percent from 32 percent, Lingan said. The country has a population of some 100 million.
"The mobile device has become your remote control of the physical world," Lingan said. People can book cars, buy all sorts of merchandise and do financial transactions with their devices, he said.
"What we're seeing, how people are behaving online, doing more and more transactions," he said in an exclusive interview with ANC's The Boss.
While "still very nascent," e-commerce is "growing really fast," Lingan said. "Slowly, all these barriers are being addressed."
Slow internet connections compared to the rest of the world and low credit card penetration have been cited as barriers to e-commerce in the Philippines.
Lingan encouraged Filipino businessmen to sign up with Google My Business to expand their audience.
Increasing online visibility can also help businesses in Boracay rebuild from the planned shutdown of the island this month to give way to a massive cleanup.
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