On the morning of July 16, just a night after tropical storm Typhoon Rammasun (also known by the Philippine name Typhoon Glenda) left swathes of the country in devastation with wind speeds of up to 85 miles per hour, a Philippines company launched a relief campaign. It’s being done with a twist – using bitcoin. People can donate in bitcoin by scanning a QR code on the donations microsite. Then the organizing company sends the collected funds in cash to both the Philippine Red Cross and the ABS-CBN Foundation.
Xiaomi’s first sale of Mi3 smartphones in the Philippines today marks its slowest sell-out ever. 3,000 Android-powered Mi3 phones were snapped up by shoppers after more than an hour. Tech in Asia reached out to Xiaomi for further details and the exact time taken. Xiaomi, known for its online flash sales, usually sells out a batch of phones in minutes. The devices were sold through the Chinese phone-maker’s local partner, Lazada, at 12 noon today. By watching the availability of the phone on Lazada, we saw that it took the Mi3 about 75 to 90 minutes to sell out completely.
Xiaomi VP Hugo Barra’s visit to the Philippines last week signalled the Chinese smartphone maker’s imminent arrival in the country. Now Xiaomi has revealed that 3,000 Mi3 smartphones will be on sale in the country on June 26 at 12 noon. The Mi3 16 GB smartphones will be sold at Php 10,599 (US$241), which is lower than Barra’s earlier estimate of Php 12,000 (US$272). That’s likely due to Xiaomi lowering the cost of the Mi3 in China, where it costs RMB 1,499 (US$240) for the 16GB version.
Tablet shipments in the Philippines grew 110 percent year-on-year, according to a recent report for Q1 2014 by research firm IDC. That’s the strongest growth rate for tablet uptake in Southeast Asia. In total, there were 598,375 tablets shipped in the Philippines in the first quarter of 2014. While Samsung and Apple still lead the race, IDC underscores that tough competition is now arising from local gadget makers as well as other global players. This is similar to the smartphone situation in the Philippines where cheaper homegrown phones are in big demand.
MANILA, June 17 — The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) through the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) in Singapore supports the Philippine delegation to CommunicAsia 2014 to further enhance the country’s position as Asia’s e-services hub and global leader in information technology and business process management (IT-BPM).
Japanese telco Softbank (TYO:9984) will invest over $20 million in startups in the Philippines with the creation of a new fund, Tech in Asia has learned. The Softbank venture fund in the Philippines is set up with the help of its regional partner, IP Ventures (IPVI). SoftBank China and India’s Bodhi Fund invested in IPVI in 2011. It will be led by IPVI’s CEO Enrique Gonzalez and also Softbank’s very own Kabir Misra, Katsumasa Niki, Teddy Himler, and Yen Theng Tan.
Xiaomi’s expansion into Southeast Asia is now on full swing. After launching in Malaysia last month, it announced today that its flagship Mi3 smartphone will arrive in the Philippines in the coming weeks. Xiaomi hasn’t revealed the official sale date and price yet, but it’ll likely match China’s price of RMB1,699, which converts to around Php 12,000 (US$274).
Homegrown smartphones from the Philippines have increased in popularity over the past several years. Following the footsteps of giants like Apple and Samsung, a number of up and coming domestic smartphone makers have entered the market, tapping into the country’s rapid smartphone growth.
China phone-maker Huawei launched the Huawei Ascend G6 in the Philippines last Saturday, dubbed as the more affordable version of its earlier launched slim smartphone, the Ascend P6. Priced at Php 9,990 (US$ 228), the Ascend G6 is roughly half of the Ascend P6’s Php 18,999 (US$433). The Ascend G6 features a 4.5-inch screen, making it 0.2 inches smaller and five grams lighter than the earlier-launched Ascend P6. Specifications wise, the two phones are very similar, both with an 8-megapixel back camera and quad-core processor.
Despite its late start in the global economic race, Southeast Asia is now considered to have one of the world’s fastest growth rates, with an average GDP of more than 6% over the past decade. The World Bank forecasts that after the economic recession, countries such as the Philippines, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos will begin to recover their GDP momentum, and can expect growth rates of more than 7% in 2015.
Anonymous Philippines went on another hacking spree. After targeting Philippine websites last year, it has crossed borders and defaced more than 200 Chinese websites this week. This move was publicly announced by the group through its Facebook page. It listed all the websites it infiltrated.
The Founder Institute, the Silicon Valley-based startup launch program with over 1,000 graduate companies, is continuously expanding into different cities worldwide. Its next stop: Manila. The program is officially taking its first chapter in the capital this June, where it aims to run two semesters annually with around 15 startups per year.
More businesses are migrating to cloud services to streamline their business processes. The shift is attributed to more businesses—large, small and medium entrepreneurs—taking a step back from the conventional means of managing their day-to-day operations into more sophisticated and accessible platforms. “The Internet via the cloud offers a unique view. A more organized system to manage an entire business from just one platform. We deliver solutions via the cloud. It is cost-effective and quick to deploy,” says Jan Alvin Pabellon, NetSuite’s principal product manager for the Asia-Pacific and Japan. To answer the clamor for cloud solutions in the Philippines,
Smartphone adoption in the Philippines is growing faster in Asia than anywhere else – a reported 75 percent year-on-year increase in mobile shipments last year proves that. According to a recent survey conducted by rewards platform Jana, this growth is being fueled not by big names like Samsung but by the increasing demand of homegrown smartphone brands in the country. The Philippines’ top three homegrown smartphone brands are Cherry Mobile, MyPhone, and Starmobile – all of which offer low-cost Android-based smartphones, as well as Android tablets and a wide variety of feature phones too.
Philippine telco Smart first introduced 4G LTE in 2012 for its mobile subscribers. Now PLDT, which is Smart’s parent company, is bringing LTE into the home. This new 4G service for the home connects devices through a router’s wireless, promising speeds of three to 10Mbps. It comes in three different tiers: 3Mbps for Php 999 (US$22) per month, 5Mbps for Php 1599 (US$36) and 10Mbps for Php 1999 (US$45).
During an on-stage interview in today’s China 2.0 forum at Peking University in Beijing, Xiaomi VP Hugo Barra commented on his company’s future plans regarding international expansion. So if you’re wondering if and when Xiaomi will come to your home country, here’s the next few markets the Chinese smartphone maker plans to enter (in tentative chronological order):
Chinese phone maker Oppo continues its expansion in Asia since its series of launches in the region towards the end of 2013. Yesterday, Oppo launched its flagship 2k HD screen phone, the Find 7, in the Philippines. The Philippines is only the second launch country for the Find 7 after China. It’s priced at Php 22,990 (US$519). Starting today, the Oppo Find 7 is available nationwide through various smartphone dealers. Earlier this year, other Oppo models like the Find 5 and N1 went on sale in the country, but without the hype and noise of the Find 7 launch.
Today, music streaming service Spotify is now officially available in the Philippines. This comes a couple of weeks after Tech in Asia spotted Spotify’s quiet ‘soft’ launch in partnership with Coca-Cola. When Spotify soft launched in the Philippines, interested users could only get a sign-up code by sending an email to the Coca-Cola team. That is changing today, because now anyone in the Philippines can now download and create an account on Spotify.
Bitcoin usage is on the rise in Asia, and the Philippines is no exception to this. But if you’re still wondering where you can use your bitcoins, here’s a list of some online and offline merchants that accept the cryptocurrency as payment: Metrodeal & CashCashPinoy Metrodeal-CashCashPinoy Earlier this month, both MetroDeal and CashCashPinoy – the country’s top two daily deal sites – started accepting bitcoin payments.
Even more people than usual in the Philippines are bemoaning their woeful internet speeds right now. Philippine telco company PLDT, which is the country’s largest broadband ISP, is currently hit by a slow-down that’s affecting many of its subscribers nationwide. This is following the reported breaks in two internet fiber lines in the Asia Pacific Cable Network (APCN). The telco company explained what’s happening in a post to Facebook late last week.