I was in Manila for the holidays. Here’s what’s new in mobile and sharing there. (Manila can be used as a proxy to understand other large SE Asian cities.)
The biggest news in 2014 was the rise of “ride-sharing” – and Uber is getting killed in this market!
– taxi drivers use CloudFone and HuaWei Android phones and phablets with Google Maps because they’re cheap and thus theft-deterrent compared to brand-names. This illustrates the rise of good-enough Chinese smartphones.
– Google maps are pretty accurate in metro Manila
– some drivers enable Wifi hotspot in their taxi.
Grabtaxi “valet” kiosk at Magnolia Mall in New Manila with holiday hours schedule. Photo credit M. Santos.
is the #1 ride-sharing system in Manila. It is a well-funded (Softbank)
Uber-clone used by regulated, metered
taxi drivers with an excellent Uber-style app.
– less robberies for driver and pax (some pax register with phone #, name and address but leave off house number). Women adore Grabtaxi.
– booking fee is P70 (USD $1.59) if no promo (xmas promo “hohoho”) added to fare, collected from driver.
– Uber is not as safe because private cars are used, not regulated public transport (India case in point), but operator can avoid/delay the P180,000 (USD $4,090.00) taxi licensing fee
– Uber’s surge pricing results in surprises.
iPhone 6 un-availability at Beyond the Box, Century City Mall in Makati. Photo credit M. Santos.
– outside the office, desktop computers are dead – everything is phone or tablet now
– half and half iPhone vs. Android, Samsung if they can afford it
– Blackberry rapidly disappearing.
Carriers and Data Plans
– 70% Globe (including Touch Mobile)/30% Smart (including Talkntext)
– Smart had unlimited plans for P2,000 (USD $45.45)/month/2 years (crushing Globe sales) before iPhone 6 release – that means Smart iPhone users are reluctant to upgrade from iPhone 5 at contract renewal time.
– Cherry and MyPhone Android devices are assembled locally
– not that popular yet because of fees compared to Facebook pages
– Citibank has a P2000 discount offer for AirBnB users.
– not popular because of listing fee and shipping to other countries
– Facebook/Instagram dominates.
– Vibr most popular because of graphics and stickers, Whatsapp not as fancy.
– Facetime used within family or group of friends who use iPhone
– Skype also used.
– still prefer in-person brick-and-mortar shopping to check size and quality, as returns are generally not allowed. The average Filipina shops in malls for discount sales, otherwise enjoys the food court and cinema.
– ecommerce is a last resort, used for international items to obtain special brands or sizes like luxury goods (ie. collectibles, golf gloves, replacement parts, etc.)
– “hobby ecommerce” using Facebook fan page/album or Instagram. Payment in advance with free delivery to friends/co-workers.
– Pinterest still kind of new
- not a single web site in SE Asia is safe to enter your credit card number! Use Paypal via a US booking site, like hotels.com or Cheapoair.com.
Exchange rate: USD $1 = P44.
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