With the continuing presence of COVID-19 and lockdowns still in place for several parts of the country, small and medium businesses (SMEs) continue to find ways to innovate and to stay afloat.
To support and honor SMEs in the Philippines in light of the pandemic, Globe myBusiness in cooperation with CHiNOY TV and the Alumni Association of Xavier School (AAXS) held the Create. Modern Tao Ke. – The Future of Your Business: Insights from Experts Leading to a New Tomorrow as the fourth installment of the webinar series.
The event took place on August 21, 2020, with the support of Caylum Trading Institute, Bestank Manufacturing Corporation, Lexus Manila Incorporated, Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System Regulatory Office, Savya Financial Center, and Sevina Park.
Speakers of the webinar included five distinguished Xavier School alumni, most of which are part of Batch ‘95 Silver Jubilarians. AAXS president and Manxon Industrial Corporation President and CEO Edgar Gatchalian gave an opening message for the webinar, followed by Acting Secretary of the National Economic and Development Authority Karl Kendrick Chua giving a keynote talk and presentation.
Moderated by CHiNOY TV host Valerie Tan, the interactive panel featured Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System Regulatory Office’s Atty. Patrick Lester Ty, Cloud Logic Managing Director Sultan Joson, and CTS Global President and CEO Lawrence Lee. The three speakers shared their insights on the current state of the country in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, how the current situation impacts different fields, and what these small-medium enterprises can do to survive given the circumstances.
“In terms of e-commerce, growth is huge from what we’re seeing. Based on our trajectory, we’re four years ahead in terms of growth, and I think it’s because of the COVID situation,” Joson shared. “The role of e-commerce is incredibly important right now. Most of the businesses that we’re helping or are partners have this problem of closing [retail] stores…One of the key things to do is getting into e-commerce. It’s never too late to get into e-commerce. I think it’s one of the thriving industries right now.”
“As much as possible, if you can go into e-commerce, go into it now. Everything that you have in a mall, you can [sell] in e-commerce.” he encouraged the viewers. He cited that these could be challenges for non-essentials, such as the fashion and service industry, hence he believes that a digital presence is necessary.
“Use all the avenues in digital space to your advantage,” Joson shares when asked about people in e-commerce facing connectivity issues, citing more accessible sites like Facebook Messenger, saying, “Numbers alone show tremendous growth.” He advises people to use platforms like Shopee, Lazada, and Zalora to sell items at the convenience of their own homes. He also shared that starting up their own websites to stay ahead. “The traffic is there. The platforms are created for that traffic. Use that for your advantage. Then go for a dot com, [so you can] get your data,” he advised.
Lee shared that compared to other countries, the Philippines has not been a viable place for global trading. The pandemic’s effect depends per sector; major commercial industries took a massive hit due to people wanting to stay inside, while other companies such as those consumer-based and telecommunications have maintained resilience. The market, according to Lee, has dropped 25% since the beginning of the pandemic, with stocks pricing at around P6,000 now. “If you’re looking at the overall market, I think it’s probably going to take some time before the market could go back to its pre-COVID prices, just because 60-75% of the composition of the index are the big [businesses],” he explained.
Lee, however, beckons to shift the focus to other companies that have yield such as Globe, DNL, and Ayala REIT. He agrees with Joson that going digital is an essential opportunity for the survival of local businesses, whether big or small. “Filipinos are resilient. You’ll notice how they go on Shopee and on Lazada,” he noticed. “You can see how Filipino businesses are becoming more resilient. Because of the infrastructures today, you can see a significant opportunity for a lot of people to go and digitize. If you don’t know how to digitize, you’ll get left behind.”
“As a business owner, you can’t stay complacent. A lot of the companies that are struggling today were really comfortable where they were,” he said, citing Microsoft being surpassed by their tech rivals as an example. “COVID and this pandemic are allowing us to push our limits and see how far we can take this innovation and how resilient we are…This pandemic is really showing that there are multitudes of doors that are opening. It’s whether you want to venture into those spaces or not.” he advised.
ATTY. PATRICK LESTER TY
Ty emphasized the need for clean and reliable water supply in the midst of the pandemic, from washing hands to disinfecting. “Our challenge right now is to have a stable [water] supply,” he says, citing the water shortage that occurred in 2019. “After that, we decided to manage our water supply in time for summer months the following year, which was the time when COVID hit,” he shared, which helped the MWSS provide supply to their consumers. Ty explained that the MWSS continues to test their water to ensure that the quality for their consumers would at least pass national drinking standards.
They also are managing the water supply for the next year, so they are calling on people to conserve water as early as now. “Water conservation is a must right now. People should do their part,” he said. He adds, “Water is not infinite. Our water supply is not growing. Our population is growing. The water supply is less now than demand. We need to build new water sources like new dams, and these come with a cost. You have to expect that you need to pay for these infrastructures.” He cites the cost as well of bringing water to houses and its treatment. Ty also shared the high cost of treating wastewater as well, hence the need to clean septic tanks to prevent overfill and pollution.
The three speakers shared their insights and observations on the country’s condition that were valuable information to the listening Tao Kes. Following the panel discussion, a Question and Answer portion was conducted with audience members asking the three experts questions about their talks. To close the night, a special roulette game was played where a select lucky few viewers won Gcash worth P1,000.
The Future of Your Business: Insights from Experts Leading to a New Tomorrow edition of the Modern Tao Ke Webinar served as the fourth webinar of the Create. Modern Tao Ke E-Series. Through this event, Globe myBusiness’ equips the Chinese-Filipino community with the proper knowledge and business solutions to rebuild their businesses, especially at a time where many Chinoys are operating their businesses in the new normal.
Head over to CHiNOY TV’s Facebook page for the webinar’s replay!