Ayala Corp. chairman Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala is seeking more investments and collaboration between Philippine and Japanese companies, especially in areas of healthcare, financial inclusion and green energy.
Zobel, in a speech during the 38th Joint Meeting of the Philippines-Japan Economic Cooperation Committees, said there is room for further cooperation and investment between the two countries to accelerate a strong and sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our shared history of cooperation gives me confidence about what Japan and the Philippines can continue to do together. Indeed, the Philippines is a large, young and growing market that offers attractive potential for strategic investments, particularly in unlocking outsized opportunities in healthcare, financial inclusion and green energy,” Zobel said.
He said the healthcare sector is a traditionally underserved market in the Philippines because of lack of coverage, inaccessibility and low supply of doctors. He said while the Philippines produces the best healthcare workers in the world, the country’s physical and digital healthcare infrastructure requires substantial stimulus, which could be provided by a collaborative effort between the private and public sectors.
Another opportunity for bilateral collaboration is financial inclusion through digitalization and innovation, he said.
Zobel said both BPI mobile banking and mobile wallet company GCash generated record-high transactions during the pandemic, which are positive signs for this financial technology space.
“We anticipate continued growth in this space, and hope for even more success stories around innovative, digital solutions to emerge. After all, our collective journey toward a more accessible and frictionless financial ecosystem is still very much in its early days. With lofty financial inclusion goals put forth by our government, this is a task that no single institution can achieve alone,” Zobel said.
Zobel also echoed global call for a shift to green energy development. With Japan being recognized for designing and building infrastructure resilient to natural disasters, Zobel said the Philippines could borrow technologies and practices from Japan to build a more resilient and adaptive grid.
“Japan is certainly well on its way with its green growth strategy by investing in these technologies, with hopes to achieve 40 percent of its national mix generated by renewable sources by 2030. There is much we can continue to learn from Japanese leadership in this field— disaster-resilient energy infrastructure and cutting-edge carbon-free fuels being just the tip of the iceberg,” he said.
Zobel said Ayala’s longstanding partnership with Mitsubishi Corp.—which has supported Ayala at the holding company level and in Manila Water, AC Energy and Ayala Land—is a testament on how Philippine firms could work with Japanese firms to scale up and innovate.