RP's first e-commerce incubation center to rise in Manila

Manila will soon be the site of the country's first ever incubation center for startup companies doing business online or via the internet.MANILA, 23 May 2000 (Manila Bulletin) - This was revealed by Michael L.
Written by ZDNet Staff, Contributor

Manila will soon be the site of the country's first ever incubation center for startup companies doing business online or via the internet.

MANILA, 23 May 2000 (Manila Bulletin) - This was revealed by Michael L. Romero, vice chairman and chief executive officer of the Filipino-Singaporean joint-venture firm that would put up the incubation center in Manila and in three other strategic areas across the archipelago.

Romero made the announcement after striking a deal with Singapore based global e-logistics conglomerate Freight Links Express Holdings (FLEH). The deal enabled Romero to acquire a seat in the board of FLEH subsidiary Freight Links (dotcom) Pty. Ltd. or FL.com, with which he would put up a joint-venture investment firm for the establishment of e-commerce incubation centers across the Philippines, all with international tie-ups and e-logistics linkages.

"These incubation centers will provide the ideal e-commerce environment consisting of state of the art facilities and technologies, including GPS (global positioning systems), WAP (wireless application protocol) and broadband internet access, to these startup companies in which our joint-venture firm will invest," Romero said.

Designed to have a gross floor area of at least a hectare, the first incubation center will be put up at the Manila Harbour Centre (MHC), the country's first ever masterplanned port city being developed by construction conglomerate R-II Builders.

This incubation center aims to launch the Philippines into the global superhighway of paperless and borderless transactions, with real-time physical delivery of goods within a maximum of only three days from any country in the world through the FLEH logistics network and FL.com's international web portal.

It is made possible by Romero's investment in FL.com, which has been forging tie-ups with various prestigious firms in the Asia Pacific through strategic buy-ins.

These corporate tie-ups, either through investments or through strategic alliances, form part of FL.com's thrust to invest in or form partnership with e-commerce enterprises operating in various lines of businesses in the AsiaPacific. It would essentially network the companies involved in a business-to-business online trading, assuring each other of substantial captive market on a national and international scale.

In the meantime, FL.com will put up a $40-million, seven-storey dotcom incubation center in Singapore.

Aside from FL.com, which has an authorized capital of $50 million (P2 billion), Romero also sits in the board of R-II Builders Group of Companies, and Link Philippine Holdings, with which he has wrapped up the deal with FLEH. These huge companies form the solid financial muscle behind the local joint-venture firm.

Likewise, FL.com has signed an agreement with Datalines Computers Systems for the $1.7-billion online autoparts trading in Singapore, while another FLEH susidiary has tied up with US-based Silicon Valley Corp. GE Asia Pacific Technology Fund, Korea's Samsung Securities, Hong Kong Investments and Associates, and former Microsoft Hong Kong management team Polylink to form a Hong Kong-based dotcom investments company.

"Similar joint venture firms will soon be established in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines," added Romero.

Listed on the Singapore Main Board and owning three publicly-listed companies in Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia, FLEH is one of Asia's leaders in the global logistics business, with 1.2 million square feet of state-of-the-art robotics warehouse facility in Singapore and a market reach spanning 120 countries worldwide. FLEH also has logistic centers in Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Hong Kong, Australia, and soon, the Philippines.

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