Modernization drive offers a wealth of opportunities

China to help the Philippines develop its digital economy and achieve green growth

Shoppers at a Huawei store in Manila, the Philippines. (GUAN XIANGDONG / CHINA NEWS SERVICE)

The Philippines' push for modernization will create a dynamic growth environment and generate growth points for Chinese companies to expand their market presence in the Southeast Asian country, said business leaders and analysts.

Many opportunities are offered by the Philippines' long-term investment programs in developing manufacturing, modern services and agriculture, as well as big-ticket infrastructure projects and a fast response mechanism to deal with natural disasters, said Gao Lingyun, a researcher at the Institute of World Economics and Politics, which is part of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing.

Backed by strong government support, the digital economy in the Philippines is expected to reach a value of $28 billion by 2025. To achieve this, the Philippine government has introduced policies such as the E-Commerce Philippine 2022 Roadmap to support the growth of its digital economy and to benefit more small and medium-sized enterprises, according to the country's department of trade and industry.

Telecom equipment manufacturer Huawei Technologies, which is headquartered in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, began to commercially deploy its third-generation 5G Massive MIMO (multiple-input, multiple-output) outside China in 2022. The Philippines was its first major recipient.

Massive MIMO uses many antennas to increase transmission gain and spectral efficiency, according to the Chinese company.

Next-generation innovative technologies, such as ultrawide band, multi-antenna and extremely large antenna arrays, significantly improve spectral and energy efficiency and can help operators build future-oriented simplified, green, high-performance 5G networks.

Yang Chaobin, president of Huawei's wireless solution unit, said that ultrawide band, multi-antenna, and extremely large antenna arrays are important innovations for improving coverage and reducing energy consumption.

"We believe that continuously improving the utilization of air interface resources will be conducive to the sustainable development of the communications industry in the Philippines," said Yang.

The technologies deployed in the Philippines boost download and upload speeds by 35 percent, and expand the coverage radius by 30 percent, given the large inter-site distances. As a result, more users can access 5G networks and the average traffic has increased by 37 percent.

Since 5G was put into commercial use three years ago, the Philippines has been building 5G networks using the wide bandwidth and has deployed Massive MIMO products to deliver continuous 5G while meeting a growing 4G capacity demand. Currently 5G networks have covered 90 percent of the population in the National Capital Region of the Philippines. Further 5G development in the country will help overcome the challenge of large inter-site distances, according to Huawei.

In terms of enhancing cooperation in the energy sector, China has been a staunch supporter and important partner of the Philippines and other Southeast Asian countries on the path of green development. They have made new energy and green growth a focus of their cooperation in recent years, said Ding Rijia, a professor specializing in the energy economy at China University of Mining and Technology in Beijing.

"Energy development has long been a focus of their cooperation, while renewables play an increasingly key role in new investments," Ding said.

As the Belt and Road Initiative grows, he said China and the Philippines will continue expanding their clean energy cooperation, innovating models of working together and enriching those models in order to reach their goals for sustainable growth.

With the Philippines entering an era of green growth, the country's demand for photovoltaic power generation projects will continue to soar, said Yao Chaoming, vice-president of Tianjin-based Sinohydro Foundation Engineering, a subsidiary of State-owned Power Construction Corp of China. Yao added the company currently is constructing a control center for a large-scale PV project in San Marcelino, the Philippines.