It is the second largest ASEAN nation of 102 million people and, similar to Indonesia’s geography, it has thousands of islands that forms the nation of the Philippines. An estimated 2.3m Filipinos are working overseas, bringing home US$26.92b worth of remittance in 2014 and helping the country spur its economic growth.

With a GDP of US$2,728 per capita and a well-educated English population, it is a country that is ready to expand and become a great consumer market. So how does one understand the Filipino market? And what challenges abound as a startup? I asked Filipino startups for their insights.

Understanding the Filipino consumer market

A digitally savvy nation

Francis Uy, founding CEO of Mobkard, a mobile loyalty and discounts platform, talks about the behaviour of Filipinos. He said, “We are the social media capital of the world (at one point and probably still is) and the mobile texting capital of the world. This is an extremely social market. It is also a cash economy with a low single digit credit card penetration rate. Filipinos are also relatively young (average age is mid-twenties) and have a bigger population growth than most Asian countries.”

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