THE Cagayan Valley region will soon become the Asian version of Silicon Valley with the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) aiming to become the first financial technology (FinTech) hub to rise in Santa Ana town in Cagayan province.
Raul Lambino, CEZA administrator and chief executive officer, said the Cagayan ecozone has pioneered the establishment of the offshore (online) gaming jurisdiction in Asia and soon will be the first FinTech hub, also in Asia.
“I just signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in Tokyo with Traders Holdings Inc., a publicly listed Japanese company, and IWave Inc., a Makati-based FinTech firm, to help create a regulatory authority,” Lambino added.
Under the MoU, the first Asia-located Special Economic Zone to regulate, license and propagate FinTech firms will be crafted and develop to make the ecozone the premier hub for the continuous development of financial technologies.
The Iwave, Inc., a Filipino-Japanese investee company of an experienced Philippine-listed technology company will provide, together with Traders Group of Japan, the intellectual property it has accrued servicing the Philippine banking sector and the country’s largest online brokerage, and Japan’s largest consumer finance company AEON in the Asia- Pacific.
Lambino said their exposure to the banking and capital market sectors will boost Know Your Client (KYC) procedures and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) policies.
“CEZA will be provided with technology to properly regulate, license, audit, monitor and launch the latest Financial Technologies [FinTech] as they become available to address the unbanked and crowd-funding solutions,” he added.
Lambino explained that on a larger scale, the MoU will bridge the technology industries of Japan and the Philippines
He said this will be carried out by synergizing Japan’s advance technologies and research and development capability with a greenfield technology hub of the Philippines, expanding its telecommunications and bandwidth capabilities.
Lambino announced that several offshore firms have already committed to locate at the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport to do business in the planned offshore FinTech post.
“Our aim is to turn Cagayan Valley into the Asian version of Silicon Valley by providing an unparalleled technological environment,” he said.
This environment, according to Lambino, will combine nature’s serene beauty– Cagayan’s Sierra Madre mountains and some of the world’s finest beaches–with wide bandwidth submarine cable landing points that are soon to be completed to ensure that the zone is firmly connected to the rest of the world.