PLDT Smart SME Nation will focus in expanding its coverage this 2016, tapping more micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to go digital, its new head Albert Mitchell Locsin said.
“Our main goal is to really get the coverage we want to better serve the SME nation businesses,” Locsin said in an interview.
“What do I mean about coverage? To cover the country better. So from the farthest flung cities of Mindanao, covering the Visayas properly, from Pangasinan all the way to Tuguegarao,” he added.
Currently, PLDT Smart SME Nation serves around 250,000 MSMEs out of the almost one million MSMEs registered with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
MSMEs are dubbed the backbone of the Philippine economy as they comprise 99 percent of total establishments in the country and account for more than 60 percent of the total employment.
However, only 1.0 percent of local SMEs are connected to digital platforms.
This is despite huge opportunities in e-commerce as the Philippines is among emerging markets worldwide with the highest smartphone penetration, at 55 percent of the population or around 26 million smartphone users as of 2014.
Fifty-two percent of smartphone users purchase products and services through their devices.
The primary goal, Locsin said, is “to drive ICT and digital, to bring everybody online so they can compete nationwide and compete globally. It’s the only way of growth.”