RBAP-MABS hosts 3rd Mobile Commerce Summit Asia in Manila

Close to a hundred stakeholders and leaders of the Asian mobile commerce industry – bankers, mobile network operators, mobile commerce providers, and third-party solutions providers – attended the 3rd Mobile Commerce Summit Asia. The Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines-Microenterprise Access to Banking Services (RBAP-MABS) Program Chief of Party, Mr. John Owens, chaired the opening session of the two-day conference held on March 24-25 at the Crowne Plaza in Manila.

He provided the participants a snapshot of the thriving Asian mobile commerce industry, focusing on developments in the Philippines where Globe and Smart Communications continue to be two of the leading pioneers in mobile money and mobile commerce in the region.  He also shared the experiences of rural banks, which have not only utilized mobile money platforms to expand access to banking services, but have also promoted mobile commerce for microenterprise clients.

The summit featured highly relevant case studies and presentations from recognized mobile commerce experts. These experts brought in their up to date insights and vision on how mobile commerce is evolving, as well as their technology foresights on the next generation mobile commerce services. The conference also focused on mobile payments and near field communication focus streams, the importance of partnerships and collaboration, creating new dimensions for mobile commerce and overcoming challenges, and mobile money transfer and mobile banking services.

To give the delegates a first-hand experience on the use of mobile money to support banking as well as mobile commerce, a post-conference exposure tour was hosted by RBAP-MABS on March 26. The exposure tour included a presentation and visit to the Philippine Rural Banking Corporation (PR Bank), one of the leading rural banks and enabler of mobile financial services via GCASH.  The presentation at the bank gave the participants an overview of the mobile phone banking services that they offer. Participants also experienced cashing in their money into mobile money (GCASH), which they used to purchase goods and souvenirs from merchants accepting GCASH at the Greenhills Shopping Center.

After successfully building mobile money ecosystems in rural areas, the RBAP-MABS Program, with support from USAID/Philippines, Globe Telecom mobile commerce subsidiary G-XChange, and mobile wallet developer Utiba Ltd., worked with PR Bank last year to promote the expansion of mobile phone banking and mobile commerce opportunities for microenterprise clients in Manila. The Greenhills Shopping Center, a popular bargain-shopping destination that is also in close proximity to PR Bank, now has over a hundred merchants who signed up with PR Bank and accept GCASH for payment.