Public-private partnerships seen helping PH catch up with peers on digital ecosystems

Bruce Rodriguez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 11 2021 08:32 PM

MANILA – Public-private partnerships can help the Philippines catch up with its Southeast Asian peers in terms of creating digital ecosystems, a consulting firm said on Wednesday. 

Liew Nam Soon, ASEAN Regional Managing Partner at global professional services firm, EY, said the Philippines still lags its neighbors in digital ecosystems or superapps. 

A digital ecosystem is an integrated network that fulfills consumer needs, similar to what super apps like Grab have been doing in other Southeast Asian countries, where it offers ride-hailing, food delivery, grocery, logistics, health, lifestyle, and financial services. 

Liew added that EY through its Philippine-affiliated firm SGV and Co., has been working with local companies to help them partner with or invest in digital startups to enable them to build local digital ecosystems.

He said Philippine companies "can look at some government and private partnerships in other countries... to encourage the acceleration of this build-up of additional ecosystems."

According to a study by EY, super apps have been attracting the attention of investors, with $43 billion in investments between 2016 and 2019.

Digital ecosystems in Southeast Asia are also estimated to generate $23 billion in revenues by 2025 from just $4 billion in 2019.

Joongshik Wang, EY-Parthenon ASEAN Leader said, being part of a digital ecosystem gives businesses a competitive advantage by leveraging on the network of services offered.

"However, to do so, companies must get their digital transformation strategy and capabilities right. The question is whether they should design or join a digital ecosystem, and there are three strategic choices that businesses can undertake: buy, build or partner," Wang explained.

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