July 05, 2022
Earlier this June, Japan lent boring machines to the Philippines in order to create the tunnels needed for a Metro Manila subway. This collaboration made headlines around the country, given Japan’s renown for its own underground rail system.
Emil Banno, the founder and CEO of JCash, an investment technology advisory, believes that the Philippines can see a further influx of Japanese investment during the upcoming administration of President Elect Bong Bong Marcos, Jr.
Fluent in Japanese and Tagalog, Banno is an expert on Japanese-Filipino relations. His company, JCash, is headquartered from the capitals of both countries, with offices in Tokyo and Manila, and he’s served as a delegate on previous investment roadshows to Japan, as in the case of the Japan Cryptocurrency Forum in 2018.
In his capacity as principal at JCash, Banno has himself attracted over US$100 million dollars in Japanese investments to the Philippines, mostly in the form of institutional investors looking to diversify into different Filipino industries, including everything from retail, fintech, real-estate and agriculture to business process outsourcing.
While these figures may be impressive for a single principal, Banno himself believes that the best is yet to come. As a consultant privy to market sentiments of Japanese business leaders, Banno shares that both individual and institutional are bullish more than ever on the Philippines.
Banno cited several common reasons for this investor confidence, including the nation’s reopening from the government-mandated lockdowns, the increasing digitalization of the workforce, and the evolution of new work configurations, such as hybrid work.
Perhaps most surprisingly - for a country not necessarily known for Web3 technologies - Banno also pointed to the emergence of blockchain as a foundational technology of many of the nation’s systems as a reason for Japanese optimism.
For example, the blockchain, BLX, was recently selected by BSP-regulated Frenetic to serve as the backbone of its upcoming fintech marketplace, and it is also set for other major deployments in the country. BLX is a US-registered decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), and recently raised US$12.5 million in seed funding.
Banno elaborated further, explaining the connection between Philippine blockchain and Japanese investors.
“The Japanese investors I’ve spoken to, especially those with background in financial services or fin-tech, believe that blockchain is how the Philippines can make dramatic leaps like Indonesia or Vietnam. Turning to a global blockchain like BLX is a smart choice because the businesses that build atop of it can exponentially increase their efficiency, transparency, and affordability - all great signals for any investor,” said Banno.
Banno is himself so bullish on blockchain that he will be using BLX for any ventures with Japanese investors, so any business becomes instantly ready for Web3, no matter the industry. He concluded by encouraging forward-thinking Filipino businesses and entrepreneurs to seek out Japanese investors for partnership.
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