Fashion, fintech and musicals

In Photo: The cast of Eto Na! Musikal nAPO! singing the classic APO tune

THE month of June has been a very busy one for Globe Telecom with briefings and events happening almost twice (even thrice) a week to announce a new service, new partnerships, or some big new campaign as they continue strive to bring a truly “Wonderful World” to their subscribers.

I wrote about how they plan to make the first 5G Globe At Home service commercially available by the second quarter of 2019, and that they have already been preparing their network with their existing vendor partners such as Huawei Technologies.

I thought that was already their big announcement of the month, but as it turns out that was just the beginning.

BLOCKCHAIN-POWERED REMITTANCE SERVICE

A FEW months ago, Globe fintech arm Globe Fintech Innovations Inc., or Mynt, launched an initiative to allow payments on its GCash digital wallet to be seamlessly compatible with the world’s largest mobile payment platform, Alipay.

The family and friends of an OFW in Hong Kong, together with Mynt President and CEO Anthony Thomas (left), Ant Financial Director for Southeast Asia Steve Shen (second from right) and Standard Chartered Bank Executive Director and Head for International Corporates Joseph Z. de Lara (right).

Using QR Codes, this allows local merchants to accept payment from both local users using GCash and Chinese visitors using Alipay via one single connection, which is necessary to take advantage of the increased footfall and revenue stream brought by the increasing number of Chinese tourists coming into the country.

That partnership continues and this time it will allow hundreds of thousands of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Hong Kong to do real-time remittance via GCash and AlipayHK e-wallet platforms. Before, OFWs had to physically go to a remittance center, fill up forms and queue in lin-up for sometimes hours to send money home. Now all they need is their mobile phones and the entire process takes just a few seconds.

This platform is powered by cutting-edge blockchain technology developed by Alipay, the online payment platform operated by Ant Financial Services Group (“Ant Financial,” “Ant”). This is the first blockchain-based cross-border digital wallet remittance service globally, offering a fast, secure, convenient, transparent and low-cost way to transfer money directly between individuals in Hong Kong and the Philippines.

Alipay has applied blockchain technology to streamline the remittance process, radically improving the speed of delivery, enhancing transparency of the process and drastically reducing costs while ensuring better security measures when sending money across borders.

At the launch of stylefestph are Zalora cofounder and CEO Paulo Campos (from left), style council head mentor designer Inno Sotto, Saga Events CEO Robby Carmona, Globe CEO Ernest Cu, Grand Hyatt Manila General Manager Gottfried Bogensperger, Globe Senior Advisor for Creative Marketing and Multimedia Business Joe Caliro, Globe SVP for Content Business Nikko Acosta. Also present at the launch were Wonder.ph’s Sarah Santiago, Fashion Exchange International cofounder Carmina Sanchez-Jacob, Globe Lifestyle Head Leah de Guzman, stylist Pam Quiňones and makeup artist Jigs Mayuga.

This service between GCash and AlipayHK will provide round-the-clock, real-time money transfer between Hong Kong and the Philippines at a competitive exchange rate with much lower transaction fees, which will be further waived during an initial three-month trial period. With a few taps through AlipayHK’s mobile phone application, money will be transferred within seconds to a GCash user.

Blockchain technology allows us to change and radically improve the speed and efficiencies for remittance services. Based on the smart contract, once a user submits a remittance application, all network participants including AlipayHK, GCash and Standard Chartered Bank, the first and core partner bank supporting this initiative, are notified. The segmented procedures of the remittance process can consequently take place in parallel, enabling the verification and execution of the transaction to occur simultaneously. Through the blockchain platform, the sender and receiver are also able to track their money every step of the way—from when the remittance application was made, until when the receiver successfully obtains the money. All information stored, shared or uploaded through the blockchain remittance platform is further encrypted with the most advanced protocols to protect the user’s privacy.

Anthony Thomas, president and CEO of Mynt, the operator of GCash, said, “GCash is building a cashless ecosystem to make financial services affordable and accessible to every Filipino as we aim to provide the Philippines’s underserved market with convenient options for load top-up, remittance, and cashless payments for goods and services, among others. This time, in partnership with AlipayHK and Ant Financial, GCash is able to achieve another breakthrough to make sending money to the Philippines easier, more convenient and more secure for Filipinos abroad. We believe that for overseas Filipinos, sending money home to their family’s GCash mobile wallet will soon be the norm.”

Standard Chartered has been an integral partner in the development of the solution and will provide the underlying banking infrastructure to support this pivotal initiative.

Eric Jing, executive chairman and CEO of Ant Financial, said that they’ve been exploring the cutting-edge blockchain technology since 2015: “Blockchain is revolutionizing the remittance industry, and we look forward to further innovating and expanding the application of the technology in global remittances, together with local wallet partners and other ecosystem partners.”

Since the launch of Alipay in 2004 and the establishment of Ant Financial in 2014, the company has built an integrated technology platform and ecosystem of partners to bring more secure, transparent, cost-effective and inclusive financial services to individuals and SMEs globally. The company will continue to invest in developing its blockchain, artificial intelligence, security, Internet of Things and computing capabilities to upgrade its global technology platform for the next generation.

FASHION FORWARD

WHO would have thought that Globe’s iconic 0917 prefix would eventually become a fashion brand?

Globe 0917 Lifestyle began toward the end of 2016 as a project intended for Globe employees, but its designs soon caught the eye of customers who admired the apparel’s design and quality.

The brand has since launched collections inspired by streetwear, outer space and pop art. They have also launched apparel in partnership with Netflix’s Stranger Things, Mickey & Minnie, Star Wars and Avengers: Infinity War. Taking the brand further, Globe has partnered with Saga events for stylefestph, happening from September 7 to 9.

Stylefestph brings together fashion, beauty and business in one platform, allowing local designers and design students, local brands, and young content creators to showcase their talents and merchandise to a local and international audience. This fashion and beauty festival will have three major activities, all of which are indispensable for seasoned stylistas and casual followers of fashion alike.

Stylespotting is the search for the next big trend in Philippine fashion and beauty at the home of stylefestph, the Grand Hyatt Manila, as the country’s most influential designers and brands take their latest creations to the runway.

Stylespace, on the other hand, brings together both local and international fashion and beauty retailers, manufacturers and suppliers in a three-day exposition at Globe Iconic (Bonifacio High Street Amphitheater). It’s designed and curated to seamlessly connect digital and physical retailers.

Finally, there’s styletalks, where participants can learn from some of the most innovative thinkers from fashion and beauty brands, digital retailers and influencers who will discuss and share their thoughts on the hottest industry topics during exclusive talks at the Grand Hyatt Manila.

The Designer Mentorship Program will give eight emerging designers the opportunity of a lifetime and be mentored by the style council, an esteemed group of fashion experts and mentors. The style council is comprised of head mentor and renowned designer Inno Sotto, celebrity fashion stylist Pam Quiñones, cofounder and chief executive officer of online fashion retail portal Zalora Philippines Paulo Campos, Wonder.ph’s Sarah Santiago, Globe Lifestyle head Leah de Guzman, Fashion Exchange International cofounder Carmina Sanchez-Jacob, and professional makeup artist Jigs Mayuga.

The winners will have their very own collections released in both www.zalora.com.ph and 0917 Lifestyle, sold at Globe stores and at shop.globe.com.ph.

For information, visit www.stylefest.ph.

TRIPPY MUSICAL FOR THE ‘TITO’S AND ‘TITA’S

BEFORE there was Apple Music, we Pinoys had Apo Music, a collection of love songs, barkada anthems and feel-good music from the most iconic trio of OPM, Jim Paredes, Danny Javier and Buboy Garovillo—The Apo Hiking Society.

And while the odds of them reuniting are almost the same as my chances to get six pack abs, titos and titas will get to relive some of their most popular hits such as “Batang Bata Ka Pa,” “Awit ng Barkada,” “Mahirap Magmahal ng Syota ng Iba,” “Bawat Bata,” “When I Met You,” “Doo Bidoo Bidoo” and more via the upcoming stage production Eto Na! Musikal nAPO!

Continuing its exceptional streak in the performing arts after successful productions, such as Disney’s Newsies, A Christmas Carol and Green Day’s American Idiot, Globe Live is back for another musical that will keep the audience entertained and glued to their seats.

In partnership with 9Works Theatrical, Eto Na! Musikal nAPO! is the first OPM musical production by Globe Live, which will run from August 3 to 26 at the Globe Auditorium, Maybank Performing Arts Theater, in Bonifacio Global City.

Eto Na! Musikal nAPO! the musical will be top billed by singer-actor Mark Bautista and also stars Jep Philippe Go, Jobim Javier, Al Fritz Blanche, Jef Flores, Jon Abella, Vyen Villanueva, Rita Daniela, Sab Jose, Marika Sasaki, Raul Montesa, Neomi Gonzales, Anton Posadas, Jourdan Bartolome, Gian Gloria, Shalee Vicencio, Peachy Guevara and Derrick Gozos.

“It’s always been a dream of mine to take an original and look at what we can do to help support Filipino theater,” shares Senior Advisor for Creative Marketing and Multimedia Businesses and Executive Producer of Globe Live Joe Caliro. “With the success of Newsies, I think we’ve accomplished our first mission: establishing that the Globe Live-9Works combination can do Broadway. We want to bring that same creative thought-process, that same production partnership to a local production, to Eto Na! Musikal nAPO!”

For tickets, visit www.ticketworld.com.ph. Eto na! Musikal nAPO! is copresented by FrontRow and FOXLife, with CNNPhilippines as media partner.

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Turning Points 2018