HANGZHOU, China—The insights that a visiting Philippine delegation have gathered from taking part in last week’s three-day learning workshop hosted by Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma here will help the Duterte administration understand how to optimize the use of technology to improve governance and prepare Filipinos for the future under a digital economy, according to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III.
Dominguez said the New Economy Workshop organized by the Alibaba Business School offered him and the rest of the Philippine delegation the opportunity to peer into the future and learn how to further open opportunities for growth for Filipinos.
“The real purpose of doing this is really to see how our government can improve the people’s lives—because that’s essentially the job of the government—how to improve people’s lives not only for tomorrow but for the future,” Dominguez said at the close of the Workshop, the first overseas government training program organized by the Alibaba Business School.
Dominguez also thanked Ma and the Alibaba team for hosting the workshop, which offered a series of lectures on how digital technology applications can be used to, among others, empower small businesses and expand their access to online credit, improve logistics networks, and even improve traffic enforcement.
“I want to thank Jack Ma and the Alibaba team for this really wonderful three days. I think we have gathered a lot of knowledge. Essentially, we came here with the idea of peering into the future and basically our idea was to stand on the shoulders of the giants who have already done it,” Dominguez said.
Brian Wong, vice president of the Alibaba Group said in response that “Hopefully, this has been very enriching and you can see from our experience how the public and private sector could really play a key role, and working together to help transform the economy.”
”We have a great admiration for your government and willingness to learn about what is happening here in China and the economy,” Wong told the Philippine delegation.
Dominguez said one important factor that the participants learned and will keep in mind is to “make sure that there are no regulations that will choke the growth of improving our governance to the wise use of big data and interconnectivity.”
“We have learned quite a bit and I hope that this is the beginning of our understanding of how to use big data and the Internet to improve the governance in our country,” Dominguez said.
On the third and final day of the workshop, Alibaba officials discussed how cloud computing and big data platforms can be applied to various aspects of improving the society—from improving traffic flow and law enforcement to managing financial risks and heightening cybersecurity measures.
Dr. Jian Wang, chairman of the Technology Steering Committee of the Alibaba Group, provided the Philippine delegation an overview of Alibaba’s cloud service and its proprietary Artificial Intelligence program dubbed the “City Brain”, which powers a truly smart city by integrating and analyzing large amounts of heterogeneous data from a wide range of sources and in multiple formats. By providing a deep learning model to manage traffic, it is helping city administrators not only perceive, but also make “smart” decisions to alleviate congestion, handle accidents and enhance the efficiency of roads and the public transport system.
“As an example, the system can be used for responding to a traffic accident or providing the data to redesign parts of the city to reduce vehicle congestion,” Wang said.
Wang explained that the cloud infrastructure was developed to support smart cities in their digital transformation. “Real-time data extracted from the systems can be analyzed to optimize urban traffic flow, such as by identifying the quickest route for emergency response vehicles,” he said.
Xiongwen Rui, vice president and head of the Security and Risk Management division of Ant Financial, discussed how the company uses data and technology to manage financial risks.
He said Ant Financial’ s e-payment service, Alipay, has a fraud-loss rate of less than 0.01 basis points.
Ant Financial, Rui said, uses a dynamic QR code which does not contain any credit card information, along with a payment password and a fingerprint verification system so that even if one’s smartphone is stolen, the e-wallet uploaded there would be useless.
The company also offers micro loans to businesses under a “3-1-0” process, which means it takes only three minutes to borrow and one minute to approve the loan that are all done with zero human contact.
Zeng Ming, chairman of the Academic Committee of the Alibaba Group and dean of the Alibaba Business School, narrated how the Alibaba Group evolved into a technology conglomerate and spearheaded the growth of e-commerce in China to help millions of small enterprises bloom and gain access to financial services.
According to Alibaba, the New Economy program for government officials will be expanded to more countries in Southeast Asia, underlining the company’s commitment to promoting the new economy paradigm and the role of e-commerce in creating a more inclusive trade and development system.
Upon the invitation of Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma, Dominguez, along with Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Deputy Governor Maria Almasara Cyd Tuaño Amador, Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) president Vivencio Dizon and other government officials and representatives from the Philippines’ business sector attended the Alibaba Business School’s three-day New Economy Workshop designed to gain a wider understanding of an e-commerce ecosystem including the digital technologies that can be employed to improve the Philippines’ nascent online payment system in pursuit of inclusive growth.