A local internet services developer will be created by two online powerhouse partners—Manny Pangilinan-led Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company and Rocket Internet unit Asia Pacific Internet Group (Apacig)—to encourage more consumers to use online payment systems and other services.
PLDT said the partnership will form the Philippines Internet Group (PHIG).
Through Voyager Innovations Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of PLDT unit Smart Communications Inc., PLDT will invest 30 million euros (P1.54 billion) in PHIG, equivalent to 33.3 percent. The telecoms giant has the option to upsize stake to 50 percent, while the remaining 50 percent interests are held by Apacig.
PHIG will serve as a main developer of activities for online businesses operating in the Philippines such as Lamudi, Carmudi, Clickbus and Pricepanda, and to increase its number in the coming quarters.
PHIG will provide local market and business model insights, facilitate commercial, strategic and investment partnerships, enable local recruiting and sourcing and accelerate the rollout of online startups.
PHIG was created to tap the fast-growing tech savvy mobile subscribers, who are open to alternative payment systems for their daily purchases.
Napoleon L. Nazareno, PLDT president and chief executive officer (CEO), said: “Now we are excited to extend our partnership with Rocket Internet and look forward to harnessing their knowledge and experience in building innovative internet services that will further support our mission of enriching our people’s lives.”
“With a population of about 100 million people and more than 44 million internet users, the Philippines is a highly promising market… Our strategic partnership [with PLDT]will accelerate the development of the Philippines Internet Group as the country’s leading online powerhouse and help our businesses succeed,” said Oliver Samwer, Rocket Internet founder and CEO.
Rocket Internet provides a platform for the rapid creation and scaling of consumer internet businesses outside the U.S. and China, with the German company having more than 20,000 employees in its network across over 100 countries, with aggregated revenues in excess of 700 million euros in 2013.
It is known for its online brands Zalora, Lazada, Dafiti, Linio, Jumia, Namshi, Lamoda, Jabong, Westwing, Home24 and HelloFresh, in the Philippines, Latin America, Africa, Middle East, Russia, India and Europe.