03 June 2019

By Philexport News and Features

Published also in Business Mirror

FRANCHISE owners are encouraged to expand in other Southeast Asian countries, as more Filipino brands are getting access to a larger share of the population of the region.

Eric Elnar, trade  service officer of the Foreign Trade Service Corps at the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), said they could use the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) to penetrate the ASEAN region.

“We have an ASEAN free-trade agreement, so basically, it just says that franchising is one of the sectors that is being promoted in the ASEAN agreement. So it’s a good idea for franchise owners in the Philippines to look at expanding first in other Asean countries before you expand elsewhere,” he said.

Elnar pointed out that franchising is considered under distribution services, same with retail and wholesale services, stipulated in the packages of services commitments in ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services (AFAS).

To expand presence in the ASEAN region, he said Philippine players need to consider halal certification.

Elnar cited as examples Muslim-dominated countries—Malaysia and Indonesia, where they should be “conscious” about halal requirements.

“Part of it is food that Muslims can take, so definitely no pork and then no pork derivatives, and then there’s Halal meat, so there is a lot of technical stuff that you have to learn. But basically, if you are targeting a Muslim-dominated country, you have to look for halal if your product is mainly food,” he advised.

Elnar said they have to also intensify marketing strategies, know the industry, market readiness and market size.

“If you are already planning to enter one country, make sure to register in terms of your brand first, make sure that there is no other brand that are registered, that are similar or the same as yours in that country,” he added.

ASEAN groups include Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

03 June 2019

Published also in Business Mirror

THE 13th edition of Ifex Philippines NXTFOOD ASIA recorded a successful opening on May 24 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City. Inaugurated by top government officials and diplomats, the event is considered the biggest gathering of delectable and export quality food finds.

Philippine food exporters are now enjoying the encouraging response of local and foreign trade buyers, foodies and consumers as the event continues to attract thousands of visitors.

Beyond efforts to expand food exports, IFEX Philippines NXTFOOD ASIA also aims to pique the interest of local consumers to appreciate the exquisite quality of Filipino offerings on a par with the world’s standards.

The event features the Islands on a Plate special setting that serves mouthwatering dishes prepared by Chef Bea Nitard of Via Mare, who lent her expertise in curating the use of Premium 7 ingredients, such as cacao, coffee, mango, tuna, banana, pineapple and coconuts.

Chef Helmut Holzer, award-winning culinary master and certified European and American Master Chef, graced IFEX Phillippines NXTFOOD Asia as a luminary guest.

27 May 2019

Published also in Business Mirror

AFTER the country’s successful participation in the Slingshot Philippines Startup Pavilion and Delegation at InnoVEX 2018, 11 start-up companies will represent the Philippine start-up community in InnoVEX 2019 to be held from May 29 to 31, 2019, at the Taipei World Trade Center, Taipei City, Taiwan.

The Manila Economic and Cultural Office (Meco) and the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC)-Taipei, in cooperation with the Department of Trade and Industry-Export Marketing Bureau (DTI-EMB) and QBO Innovation Hub, will bring the progressive start-ups and community builders that offer cutting-edge innovation in diverse and currently relevant fields such as  artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, geospatial mapping, innovative housing solutions, cyber security, smart advertising and e-commerce, education, fintech, logistics, and data science-enabled market research.

“We are very excited to support the Slingshot Philippines Startup Ecosystem Pavilion and Delegation at Innovex this year, given that technology innovation cooperation is one of our priority industry collaboration areas with Taiwan. Recognizing Taiwan’s strengths and global leadership position in electronics manufacturing and technology innovation and leveraging the Philippines’s substantial market-size, global market access, emerging innovation community and the creative talents of our globally sought-after human resource—the partnership between our startup communities will be a win-win collaboration for the two next door neighbors in today’s changing economic and technology landscape,” Meco Chairman and Resident Representative Angelito T. Banayo said.

These 11 start-ups are Antipara Exploration, Container Living Philippines, Cryptors, Gypsy, Investagrams, JazzyPay, Mober, Qwikwire, Retailgate, Rumarocket and Senti.

Antipara Exploration offers automated-data analyses in their submarine geospatial mapping technologies for the maritime industry and marine environmental mapping. In a country-archipelago such as the Philippines with more than 7,100 islands, this is a crucial homegrown technology with many important applications.

Container Living Philippines has a modular-construction approach to offer modern housing solutions using shipping containers that are disaster-resilient and highly customizable to the client’s needs.

Cryptors offers a free mobile app that can detect and block hackers preying on free public Wi-fi platforms.  They also revolutionized cyber-security trainings, making them available at very low rates compared to prohibitive market service fees.

Gypsy is a Philippine advertising technology platform, that offers advertisers, not only the market reach, but valuable data-gathering technologies and hyper-targeting solutions to effectively launch campaigns via proprietary-apps installed in tablets in ride-hailing services and public transportation alternatives.

Mober offers a mobile platform to easily find and book location-based, on-demand tailor-fit trucking and moving solutions for businesses and individuals, similar to how ride-hailing solutions do their businesses.

Investagrams is a one-stop shop platform that offers beginners guides and tips for individuals who want to invest in the stock market. Investagrams offers monitoring of hundreds of stocks real time and the ability for users to engage on virtual trading transactions.

JazzyPay is a Philippine payment platform that offers efficient billing solutions for businesses from any part of the world, to bill their clientele. JazzyPay offers their services via their proprietary app, e-mail, sms or other messaging platforms.

Qwikwire offers advanced business solutions such as Skas Property Management services, SAP- integrated billing and invoicing systems, cross-border settlements via their own proprietary blockchain powered multi-listing engine. Qwikwire also offers a niche service catered to provide comprehensive real-estate solutions for brokers and property developers.

Retailgate uses its AI-powered solutions to help retailers gain competitive market intelligence through retail analytics. Employing artificial intelligence, they offer their platform to empower brick-and-mortar stores by providing access to AI-analyzed market information on customer traffic and dwell time, forecast demand levels, assess marketing effectiveness and determine conversion rates.

Rumarocket developed its own AI-enabled algorithm that offers HR analytics and machine learning solutions for talent recruitment, management and retention for enterprises and companies in their HR and Recruitment functions. Rumarocket’s solutions are aimed ensuring meaningful impact on clients’ bottom line and strategic HR management.

Senti Techlabs offers its proprietary artificial intelligence-powered solutions to businesses for market and audience sentiment data collection and analyses, using natural language processing and machine-learning processes.

“We are proud to have an impactful participation and excellent representation this year composed of the high-innovation, talent and creativity of the Philippine start-up community at Taiwan’s InnoVex 2019, to showcase the diverse and cutting-edge solutions from our start-ups that aim to solve very current day-to-day problems,” DTI Trade Representative and MECO Director of Commercial Affairs Michael Alfred V. Ignacio said.

In addition to QBO Innovation Hub, another incubator-accelerator, Spring Valley Technology and Innovation Hub, located in Roxas City will join the Philippine delegation at InnoVEX. Spring Valley Technology and Innovation was created as a home for innovation and technology development both for local and international start-ups and technology developers in central Philippines. Spring Valley also partnered with the province of Capiz and the DTI to create Capiz’s Fablab and Innovation Center.

The Philippine-participants in this year’s event were selected following thorough selection criteria from a list of applicants after a call to participation was announced to the Philippine start-up community.

03 June 2019

By Philexport News and Features

Published also in Business Mirror

DEMAND for fresh food is expected to increase in Thailand, as more consumers become health conscious.

The Euromonitor Digest, the online publication of the Export Marketing Bureau of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), also noted the rise of food service operators serving less processed and more natural food options.

“As Thailand develops, consumers’ lives are becoming increasingly fast-paced, and they have little time to cook. At the same time, consumers now perceive health as a lifestyle choice, and are willing to pay for foods that offer better nutrition and fewer preservatives,” it said.

The report said fresh food is perceived as superior to packaged food, as it is lower in preservatives and fully natural. The broader availability of organic fresh food through modern grocery retailers and online channels has made it easier for consumers to consider organic options, it noted.

“Consumers are demanding convenience, affordability and nutrition, with less regard for product prices. Price is no longer the main deciding factor in the purchasing decision. Provenance, quality and nutritional benefits are accorded higher weight compared with price,” it added.

The Euromonitor Digest further said it is likely that consumers will gradually look for more convenient food products with extra health benefits. “Fresh food manufacturers are likely to respond with value-added products which speed up the food preparation process in exchange for higher price points,” it said.

The report further said consumers are choosing to eat out at organic restaurants or order healthy food delivery to justify their lack of cooking with the aim of achieving a healthy work-life balance amid busy lifestyles.

 “In this regard, more restaurants and food delivery services are meeting consumer demands by providing healthier, organic, low calorie or superfood-rich options. Hence, there is expected to be a greater need for fresh food for food service,” it added.  


27 May 2019

Published also in Business Mirror

The staunch supporters and movers of the Philippine gifts, décors and houseware sector are shown during the MA’I Lifestyle relaunch at the 69th Manila FAME. Present are: DTI Export Marketing Bureau (EMB) Assistant Director Anthony Rivera, DTI-EMB Director Senen Perlada, Philippine Federation of Furnishings Associations (PhilFFA) Secretary-General Chiqui Veneracion, HAPI President Leah Reyes, ANP President Christina Gaston, PhilHHDA President Romeo Balderrama Jr., PCHEAI President Milagros Lacson, Foreign Buyers Association of the Philippines (FOBAP) President Robert Young, BOI OIC-Director Fe del Rosario, DTI-Citem Executive Director Pauline Suaco-Juan, Philippine Exporters’ Confederation Inc. (Philexport) President Sergio Ortiz-Luis and Philexport Vice President Leonor Abella.

INITIATIVES to further boost the country’s gifts, décor and houseware are finally paying off as the Philippines continues to carve a niche in the international market as the preferred source of globally competitive, innovative and quality GDH products. Twenty-eighteen trade statistics showed that while country’s total export sales went down, the GDH sector’s growth continue to shoot up with a 23.9-percent increase in exports from $166.54 million in December 2017 to $206.34 million in December 2018.

The continuous growth of the country’s GDH sector is largely boosted by the collaborative efforts of the government and private sector stakeholders to further push the competitiveness of the industry through various initiatives such as industry policy interventions, product development, strengthening the supply chain and promotion activities.

A key promotion initiative was the relaunch of MA’I Lifestyle, the sector’s official brand, during the recently concluded 69th Manila FAME at the World Trade Center in Manila.

Conducted through the cooperation of five business support organizations (BSOs), namely the Association of Negros Producers, Home Accents of the Philippines Inc., Mindanao Trade Exposition Foundation, Philippine Chamber of Handicraft Exporters and Artisans Inc. and the Philippine Lifestyle, Homestyle and Holiday Décor Association, the relaunch was a strategic move to spark brand recall for MA’I Lifestyle and further promote the Philippines as a primary source of reliable GDH products.

Upcoming initiatives to uphold MA’I Lifestyle were announced during the activity, including possible partnerships with the Department of Trade and Industry Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (DTI-Citem) and Export Marketing Bureau (EMB) in tapping into new markets abroad by conducting missions and joining trade expositions. Likewise, seminars will be organized to help MA’I Lifestyle member-companies comply with international buying standards. Select MA’I products were also showcased at the Design Commune, one of Manila FAME’s special show features.

The Philippine Board of Investments (BOI), the country’s lead industry development and investments promotion arm, played a vital role in the conception of the MA’I branding for the Philippine GDH sector with the development of the GDH road map. During the road map’s launch at the BOI’s Trade and Industry Development (TID) Updates forum back in July 2016, the need for the GDH companies to focus in building their corporate branding was raised.

The BOI, along with BSOs and concerned stakeholders worked together to build a unified brand for the Philippine GDH sector, which includes the creation of brand name, logo, tagline, and visuals that will be used for the GDH sector’s web site, catalogue, and participation to international exhibitions.

MA’I was first unveiled to the public during the 66th Manila FAME in October 2016, following the conduct of nationwide branding workshops and consultation sessions spearheaded by the BOI and the GDH BSOs.

For this year, the BOI will continue supporting the sector through partnerships with relevant agencies in identifying training opportunities that can further capacitate the industry.

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