Yuchengco Group of Cos. is planning to launch a mobile app offering the full range of the Philippine family firm’s services — from insurance to holiday packages to funerals — using payment facilities from Yuchengco’s Rizal Commercial Banking Corp.
The wide array of Yuchengco Group interests will help set the new app apart from e-commerce platforms created by other family-run groups in the Philippines, according to Lito Villanueva, who oversees the conglomerate’s digital technology efforts.
“Most applications in the Philippines are focused on one thing — payments, but we’re looking at an integrated approach by cross selling and bundling our group’s products,” Villanueva said in an interview.
Yuchengco joins family firms like JG Summit Holdings Inc. and Ayala Corp. in launching apps in a nation which has heavy Internet usage and more mobile-phone subscribers than its population. Unlike its competitors which have a separate app for every service, Yuchengco aims to follow the WeChat example by putting all its products and services onto a single platform.
Villanueva said the company plans to launch the mobile app next quarter and have 12 million active users in three years. “It’s a WeChat model — a one-stop shop with all the array of services you can offer,” he added.
Yuchengco owns Rizal Bank, the country’s 10th-largest lender, alongside interests in insurance, construction and education. It also offers funeral services and has a minority stake in a company that runs six cemeteries.
The Philippine central bank has been encouraging growth of financial technology in order to rope in more people into the formal banking system. The nation is the among the first in Asia to license Bitcoin-based companies and roll out a digital national retail payments system.
“We want to be nimble to keep customers in the app,” Villanueva said. “The ultimate litmus test is, how many people are using your technology.”
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