Digital Silk Road to benefit PH

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    Chinese companies see the potential in investing in digital infrastructure in the Philippines as part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) being pushed by Beijing.

    Bank of China is willing to allot a credit facility for Chinese companies investing in digital technology in the Philippines, including 5G on top of a $2-billion credit facility it has allotted for infrastructure in the country.

    China Telecom, investor in third telecommunication player DITO Telecommunity, considers the Philippines as a key country in Southeast Asia for its long-term investments in BRI.

    Francis Chua, director international affairs of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry said an emerging key element of BRI is establishing Digital Silk Road, which had pushed China Telecom to invest in the Philippines.

    “Whereas before, BRI has been pushing (investments in) highways, bridges, logistics and sea lanes…this time it is digital, another portion of Belt and Road,” Chua said in an interview at the sidelines of the 45th Philippines Business Conference in Manila yesterday.

    Chua said the Digital Silk Road will establish connectivity among countries within the Belt and Road thus, opening investment opportunities for the Philippines.

    “5G is a big investment,” said Chua.

    Xiao Wei, deputy managing director of China Telecom, said the company together with Udenna Corp. are working with different banks in financing investments in the Philippines.

    “We are working with Udenna (as a) technology partner… how to transfer state-of-the-art technology,” said Xiao.

    Xiao describes the entry of China Telecom in the Philippines as a long-term investment.

    He added as part of BRI, “we focus on different countries in Southeast Asia and the Philippines is one of the key countries. We are seeking long-term investments (but) we need to work with local partners.”

    But Xiao regards the DITO investment as “the most important project we are working (on in the Philippines) right now.”

    “Udenna is a good partner to support our joint investments,” he added.

    Xiao said as earlier announced, DITO will bring into the Philippines 4G as well as 5G which will enable the telco company to provide faster connectivity and over-the-top services.