While I was taking up my MBA, I had to do some environmental analysis for IT in the Philippines. I found some interesting facts about Philippine IT usage despite the fact that we have relatively low internet penetration (32.4%) compared to our overall population. Here’s some technology lists where the Philippines made it to the ‘Top 10’. Some had been fairly difficult to validate because it sounded like they were just commentaries. I provided you the source so you can decide if they seem factual or not.
1. Most number of Facebook Users in 2013 (8th)
As of 2013, there are about 30 Million Filipinos in Facebook. This is about one in 3 people in the country have Facebook accounts. And with about 33 Million people having Internet access, Facebook penetration in the Philippines is 90%. According to some commentaries, this is mostly because the Philippines had a large population are Overseas Filipino Workers and use Facebook as a medium to be up to date with families and friends in the Philippines. Part of the top 10 from this list: 10-Germany, 9-France, 8-Philippines, 7-turkey, 6-United Kingdom, 5-Mexico, 4-Indonesia, 3-India, 2-Brazil, and 1-United States.
2. Selfiest Cities of the World – Makati (1st) and Cebu (9th)
This one was hot off the press and was actually the inspiration for this article. I know most of us prefer to make it into a list for something more noble but we can’t argue that its unique. Time magazine analyzed the data from Instagram and tried to generate this number. According to the study, about 258 people take selfies in Makati out of 100,000 people. I am sure this number just went right up for the past week when the announcement came out as everyone tries to join the bandwagon.
3. Most number of Twitter Users in 2013 (7th)
In a survey done by Business Insider, there are over 11 Million Twitter users in the Philippines. This makes the Philippines number 7 in terms of highest number of users. The list are as follows: 1-China, 2-USA, 3-India, 4-Indonesia, 5-Brazil, 6-Japan, 7-Philippines, 8-Russia, 9-Mexico, and 10-United Kingdom. But another interesting information here is that the Philippines is ranked at number 3 in terms of %of Internet population in the country who uses Twitter at least once a month at approximately 80% following Saudi Arabia and Indonesia.
Source: Business Insider
4. Texting Capital of the World (1st)
There are conflicting information about this in the Internet whether it is true or not. Apparently, there was a study made in 2009 that named the Philippines for this. According to the study, Filipinos sends an average of 600 texts a month and about 40% more than the United States. Whether this information is still relevant is probably hard to tell. But some of the facts that remained – there’s at least 101 mobile phone subscribers out of 100 Filipinos since 2011. That’s more cellphone users than there are people in the country. And interestingly, 96% of these subscriptions were prepaid. This is mainly because telecoms in the country have mastered the “sari-sari store” approach in mobile usage. UnliCall, UnliText, Mobile Data for Facebook only, you name it we got it. With this trend, we expect to see that in the future this may potentially be the trend for mobile data usage too. Mobile data is one approach the country sees to help address our 32.4% internet penetration in the country.
With this statistics, the World Bank cited the Philippines for a number of critical benefits or innovation around text messaging that helps the lives of the citizens. They cited efforts such as checkmyschool.org to allow government schools to be more in touch with its citizens, farmers getting better information on pricing for their crops, taxi drivers getting information about traffic, and usage of mobile in organizing protests and monitoring democracy and freedom. These are all interesting information and things that we should be proud of.
5. Potential World’s Mobile Banking Capital (1st)
This one is probably a spin off of being the texting capital of the world. According to the article, in the 2012 Mobile Payment Readiness Index study commissioned by Master Card, it is revealed that the Philippines is 2nd in terms of readiness in Mobile Payment across Southeast Asia. Because text messaging allowed access to many Filipinos especially in the far flung areas – the Philippines was one out of 2 countries (the other one is Kenya) who had successfully implemented mobile payment solutions in micro payment services in rural areas. Sounds pretty cool.
6. Call Center Capital of the World (1st)
The Philippines had been named the new Call Center Capital of the World overtaking India since 2011. The Philippines had one-tenth population compared to India but had at least 50,000 more call center agents than India in 2011. This was particularly attributed to the large workforce available in the Philippines who speak lightly accented English compared to India. This was achieved on top of the fact that Filipino agents were actually paid more than Indians, but customers mostly find that it was worth the added cost. The Filipinos speaks good English, understands the culture and more importantly naturally hospitable and service oriented. It’s good to know that we are preferred for delivering good service rather than just mostly cheap cost. I wish we can introduce more of this in other industries.
7. Outsourcing Destination of the World (2nd)
According to an article published by ibpap.org, Manila moved to #2 position as outsourcing capital of the world overtaking Mumbai and still second to Bangalore. It says that the Philippines have seen a continuous growth in the outsourcing business and while call centers still dominate the industry, it had seen increase in other services such as Finance and Accounting Outsourcing and higher value Information Technology Outsourcing. More importantly, the nation have seen collaborative efforts from government and business sectors to really improve our capabilities in this industry. While we all want to eventually produce a Silicon Valley and produce companies like Google and Facebook – we all have to start somewhere and this seems like a good place to start.
There you go! I am sure there are other lists out there that will have more information, this was as much as I could find so far. I know some people will have mixed feelings about the list as some prefers to be on a leading innovation list rather than Selfiest Capital. But for whatever it is worth, it means that we have a unique view and usage of technology that is probably not as conventional as others. If we will know how to take advantage of it, we will be able to produce some of the best innovations of the future. 🙂