With a number of up-and-coming startup and tech companies in the Philippines, the United Kingdom hopes to bridge them with experienced London-based firms who can further support their growth.
UK Trade Commissioner for Asia Pacific Natalie Black went on a two-day visit to the Philippines from March 2 to 3 to meet with key business officials and other stakeholders. During her visit, she also announced a new partnership between the UK and Digital Pilipinas to “champion common UK-Philippines priorities” – from fintech, cyber security, smart cities, and even providing digital health services.
“We know how many great tech companies there are in the Philippines and we have a lot of British companies who are very interested to spend more time here,” Black told Philstar.com in an interview at the British Ambassador to the Philippines' residence during her visit.
The particular interest in the Philippines comes as trade and investment activities between the two countries continue to increase, with a 35% growth in the last four quarters ending September 2022 at nearly $2.8 billion compared to the same period in 2021.
Total foreign direct investments from the UK to the Philippines also stood at £449 million in 2021, growing by 9.7% or £40 million the previous year.
Meanwhile, the UK’s Development Finance Institution also previously announced a plan to boost climate financing in the Indo-Pacific, committing to investing up to £500 million in the region in the next years. This means possible investments in businesses that bridge tech, clean energy, and health.
UK Trade Commissioner Black said the Philippines is “going to be a shining light” with an exciting tech market, noting the Philippines’ young workforce and a digital-friendly population.
During her visit, Black held a reception to meet with the country’s tech community in hopes of enticing more Filipinos to take part in this year’s London Tech Week in June, which opens opportunities for them to connect and meet other stakeholders and investors in the industry.
“What we want to do this time around is to make an even bigger delegation because we think the next generation of Filipino unicorns to grow in the UK,” Black said. “And as we look into the generation of next UK unicorns, we [hope they will also grow] in the Philippines, so it’s a mutually beneficial relationship.”
In 2021, London Tech Week saw over 350 tech entrepreneurs and industry figures from the Asia-Pacific region partake in the event, including Mynt’s fintech service GCash.
“This year, London Tech Week has a particular focus on climate tech, on fintech, and on cybersecurity but we know the Philippines is particularly good at e-commerce so that would be another area that we would be enthusiastic to see,” Black said. — Kaycee Valmonte