MANILA — The Philippines will virtually host the first World Fintech Festival (WFF) in December and showcase its digital footprint globally, a bid to revolutionize the country's digital marketing and ramp up financial technology practices.
The virtual event is set on December 7 to 11, and will feature talks from technology innovators Bill Gates, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, organizers said.
The talk featuring those global technology leaders will be broadcast in 10 free sessions on social media sites Facebook and YouTube.
"This year’s WFF shall spotlight key executives and decision-makers from different Asian nations as they discuss how they pilot fintech to produce societal impacts," a statement to the press read.
It will be co-presented by telecommunications company Globe, and organized by GeiserMaclang Marketing Communications Inc. (GMCI).
GMCI estimated that the WFF, previously presented as the Singapore Fintech Festival, would draw business leaders from at least 140 countries.
"The WFF-Philippines is intended to galvanize Philippine industries to accelerate their own adoption of fintech, be open to innovation, and invest in their workforce’s digital upskilling," the statement read.
The five-day event was also made to "bring together the public and private sector" to bridge and create an inclusive digital economy, it added.
Sopnendu Mohanty, chief fintech officer of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), noted the country's readiness in the financial technology landscape.
“The Philippines is the country that I will never ignore. You have a remarkable GDP and a fairly young demographic. The true test of a company’s strength comes from a crisis, and the businesses in the Philippines have truly demonstrated this,” Mohanty said in a virtual press conference on November 18.
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Director Melchor Plabasan, Mynt President and CEO Martha Sazon, UnionBank of the Philippines Chairman Dr. Justo Ortiz, Noel Bonoan, KPMG Vice Chairman and COO, and lawyer Mark Gorriceta, Managing Partner of Gorriceta Africa Cauton & Saavedra, will headline this year's WFF.
Amplifying PH's tech hub to global investors
GMCI co-founder and WFF convenor Amor Maclang said the event could showcase the country as a tech hub "attractive to global investors."
“We are championing the Philippines, following the footsteps of Singapore, as an incubator for technology and fintech. At the same time, tech is here to serve the underserved, the underbanked, and the undersheltered. Fintech has created opportunities for people on the spot,” said Maclang.
Plabasan said the central bank paved the way for the country's transition to contactless payment practice, most especially during the pandemic.
BSP data showed there was a surge in the use of internet banking, mobile apps and services, such as Instapay and PesoNet, during the pandemic, as more than 4 million accounts were open even during the lockdown's first 2 months, according to Plabasan.
"We recently crafted a 3-year roadmap which aims to develop an efficient, safe, and secure digital-payment ecosystem. We aim to shift 50 percent of retail payments to online, and ensure that 70 percent of adult Filipinos will have access to digital accounts," he said.
Sazon estimated that one trillion transactions will be made through GCash by the end of December, noting that young Filipinos are "most aware of their financial stability" during the pandemic.
Ortiz also pointed out the future of money movements.
“Financial transactions, embedded in actual live transactions people do day to day, are the ultimate end game. Whatever you do, whether you buy food, take a trip—we will embed it in financial transactions across the board," said Ortiz.
For more information and to register, click here.