Posts Tagged ‘philippines’

Learnings from the Philippines

Learned a few things during my trip to the Philippines this time. Another country that amazes me. For the first time in history, Philippines attracted more foreign direct investments (FDI) than Malaysia, in 2010 (see: Malaysia’s FDI plunge).

Mobiles

There are a lot of people here using prepaid phones as opposed to postpaid phones. This is because the requirements of getting a postpaid account is quite tough (you need bank documents, etc. before they give you an account).

Many people carry more than one phone (or have more than one SIM). Smartphones face an uphill battle – they cost too much and there is generally no operator subsidy because everyone prefers prepaid accounts. It makes economic sense to have more than one SIM, as you’ll end up saving money (operators like to offer free text, calls, etc. from time to time).

It’s interesting to note that SMS is very common in the Philippines. At the conference, you ask questions the traditional way – going up to the microphone. Here in Manila, you can also send a SMS message and it will be asked on your behalf. Very handy use of technology, especially in Asia, when people are occasionally scared to ask questions in-front of a large audience.

Data plans are not very common here. The cost of mobile data only recently took a price cut here, it would seem. USB dongles with data can be had for about PHP1,200-1,500 per month, with no implemented data cap (they’ll tell you its 3GB, but apparently nothing happens if the limit is hit). That’s quite impressive, since you might also just plug it into a MiFi and get data for cheap, on the go.

Social Networking

Facebook is the social network of choice. Multiply is losing ground. Friendster is the network of the past. This is true with the universities, and it is also true on popular TV shows (I caught a VJ talking about the shows Multiply and Facebook presence). Twitter seems to be pretty large here.

´╗┐Foursquare and other location based services (LBS) do not seem to be very popular at all. In the Makati area, you’ll find people checking in, and there has been some use of Facebook Places even. You’re usually about 4-9 check-in’s away from becoming the mayor from what I’ve seen. Students have next to no use of these LBS services; I have a feeling that it should largely be attributed to data plans being uncommon.

Gaming, payments, OFW’s

´╗┐People love to play Farmville and other Zynga games online. Credit cards are not common here. You can buy prepaid cards to buy credits for online games. Virtual goods is a large market here. Social gaming – I see this more and more now. Online shopping/e-commerce is not too widespread.

Gaming (gambling) is common. There is legalised e-gaming (presumably with taxes going to the government), but there is also a growing number of illegal gaming making lots of money. Apparently this industry is quite large. Here gambling also has another problem – the Catholic church is not necessarily very happy with it.

Today, remittance can happen via mobile phones from overseas. From what I understand, if you are an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) you can remit money from Singapore to the Philippines using your mobile phone. Telcos are going past banks, becoming clearing houses. It turns out that last year, through official means, OFW’s contributed about 20 billion dollars to the Philippine economy. That is something in excess of 15% of the GDP of the nation. About 11% of all Filipinos are overseas as an OFW. Population currently stands at 80 million.

In conclusion

There are lots and lots of smart people here. UP has about 80,000 students. Over 19,772 people attended Y4iT. The crew did a fabulous job in terms of organising and getting people together.

The people are all very friendly. They all speak English. I know many people outsourcing work to the Philippines through services like oDesk.

Generally, good stuff is happening here. Manila is the only place I’ve been to, but I know there are DevCon’s happening elsewhere and there are other IT hubs in Cebu, for example.

Firefox Download Day

Its the Firefox Download Day. That not only means Firefox 3 is out, it also means that they’re trying to set a world record, by getting the most downloads of a software package in 24-hours. There’s a nice world map, similar to the kind you might have seen in presentations by Jonathan Schwartz (ok, I prefer seeing the dots per region, rather than the Firefox one :P).

The pending general availability of MySQL 5.1 was announced in April at the MySQL Conference. While I’ve seen 1,400+ attendees (a pleasant problem for the event organisers, as they scurried to get people into overflow rooms, and herd the crowd during food times) show up at the Tech Days in the Philippines, I’m wondering if we can achieve 3 million downloads (the current Firefox counter) within 24-hours? Database software just isn’t as sexy as a web browser… Thats not to say we cannot aim high.

How would you celebrate the release of MySQL 5.1 GA? Worldwide release parties (ala Ubuntu)? Set an aim for “n-number of downloads” in 24-hours?

P/S: Like live stats? Look at the Mozilla Download Counter. Its live, and very cool

MySQL Rocks: Wen Huang, in Makati City, Philippines

I’m at the Sun Tech Days in beautiful Philippines, and all I can say is the energy is tremendous. I’m hearing there are about 1,400 attendees, and this number might grow tomorrow.

Armed with a video camera, I decided to take a few video snapshots. My first victimguest on my yet to be named videocast is Wen Huang, Product Manager for NetBeans, at Sun Microsystems.

Wen Huang has been a MySQL user since 1999, and had a past life as a web developer in various web shops, some large, some small. One commonality he had at all his jobs though is that they always use MySQL.

He’s an action junkie, preferring to have the latest version of the MySQL database all the time, and can’t wait for MySQL 5.1 when it comes out. Do remember that there exists a NetBeans with Glassfish and MySQL bundle. I’ve also blogged about this before, don’t hesitate to read my review titled NetBeans 6.1 with GlassFish, MySQL bundle.

So there you have it. Go forth, and try the great bundle, as its an all-in-one install of an IDE, an application server, and a database server.

MySQL at the Sun Tech Days, Philippines

In what I think must be MySQL’s first time in the Philippines, there will be a presence there next week. Well, its not the first time, but in terms of a community/developer event, I think it might be. The Sun Tech Days is happening from 17-19 June 2008, in the Shangri-La Makati.

Besides MySQL, expect great talks on NetBeans, GlassFish, OpenSolaris, and so much more. I’ll be the guy walking around in the MySQL shirt, so feel free to stop me and ask questions. Its exciting for me, as we’ve not really paid much attention to the Philippines, in terms of community growth (and the Philippines is in the APAC region!).

This isn’t a free event (its 1,000 PHP = ~USD23), and registration should still be available. If you’d like to meet up, and talk MySQL, shoot me an email at colinATmysqlDOTcom or reach me via mobile at +6-012-204-3201. If you’d like to help organise a MySQL Meetup in Manila, do ping me too.


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