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Gotianun heiress sets course for inclusive, digitally deft future

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Isabelle Gotianun Yap

Isabelle Gotianun Yap

Finance and business run deep in Isabelle Gotianun Yap’s blood, an aspiring executive at EastWest Bank, the banking arm of family-run Filinvest Development Corp.

Recently named one of the Switzerland-based World Economic Forum’s (WEF) 100 new Young Global Leaders (YGL), 34-year-old Isabelle is on a mission to make a big impact within the group and potentially beyond.

Mentored by her grandmother, Mercedes Gotianun, the county’s first female universal bank president, and her mother, Filinvest Group President, Lourdes Josephine Gotianun Yap, Isabelle was never short of role models.

“I was introduced to management at an early age by my grandmother and mother in our family business,” EastWest Inquirer’s chief executive and vice president said in an email.

“Having these great role models, I always knew I wanted to be in our family business, to solve big problems and make a difference in the world,” she adds.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration with a dual major in finance and marketing from Singapore Management University. She also has a Masters of Business Administration from Harvard Business School.

Isabelle is a former consultant at McKinsey, where she honed her critical thinking and problem-solving skills while serving a variety of clients across the country.

She was also part of the Management Associate program of industry giant Singapore Telecommunications, where she gained valuable experience in digital marketing, product development and project management. “While making an impact around the world has brought me fulfillment, I wanted to bring the impact closer to home. So I went back to the family business,” says Isabelle.

“At EastWest, my work is really focused on building and launching these strategic and transformative initiatives for the organization. I hope to make a lasting impact here, much like the strong female role models I grew up with made in their own time,” she adds.

As part of the next generation of the family, Isabelle brings a fresh and digitally-focused perspective to Filinvest Group, which was founded 68 years ago by her grandparents, the late Taipan Andrew Gotianun Sr. and his wife Mercedes. The $1 billion group’s portfolio includes real estate, banking, sugar manufacturing, energy and infrastructure.

venture builder

Within parent company Filinvest Development, Isabelle chairs the digital venture builder and transformation arm F(Dev), which she helped build.

“Our mission is twofold: first, to serve and empower underserved communities and transform industries through technology-enabled business models; and second, to enable the Filinvest family to be ready for a digitally-enabled future,” she says.

Some of the group’s projects are likely to be familiar to companies today.

Among them is Investree Philippines, the very first registered crowdfunding platform in the Philippines. The crowdfunding firm, a joint venture with Investree Indonesia, aims to bridge the fundraising gap to serve the large number of small and medium-sized businesses.

Isabelle says that F(Dev) is also leading digital business transformation within the conglomerate.

At EastWest, she is credited with leading the development of Komo, one of the country’s first fully digital banking services, which launched in August 2020 amid the COIVD-19 pandemic.

“Komo was created to give Filipinos more control and flexibility in managing their money. Komo stands for kontrol mo (your control). We wanted to make our customers’ lives easier by offering convenient, safe and reliable services,” says Isabell.

Being one of the earliest fully digital services on the market, she envisions the plan to “really continue to be at the forefront when it comes to developing and driving our products and services along with our processes for our customers improve”.

Komo is also successful because of the team of dedicated professionals who helped bring the project to life, says Isabelle.

“Today’s Komo team has a broad background – fintech, banking, telecom to name a few, but all have a digital background and an attitude to push boundaries,” she says.

“This diversity of experiences allows us to consistently challenge the status quo for a better product for our customers, the Komounity,” she adds.

YGL class of 2023

Isabelle is one of the two Filipinas to make it to the YGL class of 2023. The other is Natashya Gutierrez, who lives in Australia and is the Asia Pacific Editor-in-Chief at Vice News.

The WEF describes Natashya as “an experienced multimedia journalist with a proven track record in the online media industry”. Experienced in digital reporting, editorial, management, investigative journalism and content strategy, she previously worked at online news platform Rappler.

She is “particularly knowledgeable in Southeast Asia, covering women’s rights, politics, corruption and breaking news,” says the WEF.

The YGLs Forum intends to accelerate the impact of a diverse community of responsible leaders across borders and sectors to shape a more inclusive and sustainable future.

Only six new YGLs are based in Southeast Asia, including Isabelle.

“From brave journalists exposing the most critical political and human rights issues of our time, to savvy entrepreneurs transforming the way we work with technology, this year’s course is packed with brilliant minds and passionate leaders from business, civil society, Science and government,” he tells the WEF. INQ


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TikTok wants to distance from China but the government’s getting involved

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China and US flags can be seen near a TikTok logo in this illustrative image taken on July 16, 2020.

Florence Lo | Reuters

BEIJING — China says it would “strongly oppose” a forced sale of TikTok, highlighting the government’s involvement in the social media giant, which is trying hard to distance itself from authorities in Beijing.

The Commerce Ministry said on Thursday that TikTok was in the process of being sold or spun off from its Beijing-based parent company ByteDance Chinese Technology Exports Law — Requiring export permits for certain technologies due to national security concerns. ByteDance also owns Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, which is popular in the country.

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Reported Medias Pro

“The Chinese government would make a lawful decision,” spokesman Shu Jueting said in Chinese, translated by Reported Medias.

Shu was speaking at the ministry’s weekly press conference, hours before TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew testified before a US House of Representatives committee.

Lawmakers questioned Chew for more than five hoursand wanted clarity on TikTok’s ability to operate independently of Chinese influences on its parent company.

ByteDance did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the Chinese Ministry of Commerce’s remarks.

Influencer Jason Linton on TikTok: It was life-changing

The poll did not appear to exonerate US lawmakers.

“At the end of the day, it was clear from the statement that Mr. Chew reports to the CEO of ByteDance. ByteDance controls TikTok,” Cameron Kelly, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution, told Reported Medias.Squawk Box Asia“Friday. Kelly was General Counsel at the US Department of Commerce from 2009 to 2013.

Kelly said the evidence that ByteDance has legal control over TikTok reinforces US lawmakers’ doubts about how well the app can demonstrate its independence through restructuring.

TikTok has a “Project Texas” plan to store American user data on US soil — to prove the company’s claims that mainland China authorities have no access to it.

Beijing … now doubly dares Congress and the administration to ‘save my day’.

Daniel Russell

Asia Society Policy Institute

“I don’t see a closure as a ban or a full divestment [of TikTok] is needed. But I think you need to separate that legal control,” Kelly said, noting that this could be done through a trust structure.

But the Commerce Department’s claim for control of a TikTok sale or spin-off suggests Beijing wants to be involved.

“The Chinese government’s public statement to block sales of TikTok in the US has little to do with protecting Chinese algorithms and technology and much to give Washington a taste of its own medicine,” said Daniel Russel, vice president of International Security and Diplomacy, Asia Society Policy Institute said in a statement.

“Beijing after I heard it [U.S. Commerce] Secretary Raymond’s complaint that banning TikTok would upset voters under 35 is now doubly bold for Congress and the government to ‘save my day,'” Russel said.

The US has tightened restrictions on American companies and individuals working with Chinese companies on critical technology for high-end semiconductors.

When asked about the Commerce Department’s comments Thursday, TikTok’s CEO said the app is not available in mainland China and is based in Los Angeles. But he said the company used the expertise of some of ByteDance’s Chinese employees for “engineering projects”.

Chew also told US lawmakers that China-based employees were employed by its parent company ByteDance may still have access to some US databut that new data will stop flowing once the company completes its plan for the Texas project.

Official Chinese commentators have previously emphasized this China-based companies should comply with local laws and regulations when doing business abroad.

It’s not immediately clear how China’s export control law, enacted in December 2020, could apply to TikTok.

Different types of exports are managed by different governmental organizations, “each of which has a separate regulatory system,” the EU Chamber of Commerce in China said in its latest position paper. It called for more clarity about the roles of the various bodies involved in the implementation of the export control law.

What’s next for TikTok?

The US and China have increasingly invoked national security as a reason for controlling technology.

“To be fair, there really are real national security risks involved [TikTok] — and that’s one reason banning the app from government phones and military phones makes sense,” said Glenn Gerstell, senior advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies on Reported Medias.Street Signs Asia“Friday. Gerstell served as General Counsel of the National Security Agency from 2015 to 2020.

“As for the general public, I don’t see any strategic value in China in understanding what a teenager’s dance moves are in Minneapolis. So the general public ban makes no sense,” he said.

TikTok has more than 150 million users in the US — or about half the country’s population.

It’s unclear whether the US will ultimately force ByteDance to sell TikTok or ban use of the app in the country. The hugely popular app is already banned from federal government devices.

“We see a 3-6 month timeframe for ByteDance and TikTok to work out a sale to a US tech player with a less likely and extremely complex spin-off,” said Dan Ives, analyst at Wedbush Securities, in a note.

“If ByteDance fights this forced sale, TikTok will likely be banned in the US by the end of 2023.”

— Reported Medias’s Lauren Feiner contributed to this report.

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Equities mixed aReported Mediaser central bank rate decisions

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Stock markets were mixed on Friday as concerns over the health of the global banking system dragged US lenders’ shares down more than 14 percent this week.

The FTSE All-World stock index fell 0.1 percent during Asian trade on Friday but rose 1.6 percent on the week. Technology stocks in Asia initially followed the Nasdaq Composite higher on hopes that the US Federal Reserve’s monetary tightening cycle is nearing its end.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Tech Index rose as much as 2.3 percent on Friday before gaining just 0.1 percent. Other benchmarks in the region posted modest losses, including a 0.3 percent decline for China’s CSI 300. Gains for technology stocks in Asia followed a 1 percent increase for the Nasdaq Composite Index on Thursday.

Futures sent the FTSE 100 stock index down 0.6 percent at the London open, while the S&P 500 was expected to rise 0.2 percent.

The broader S&P 500 returned just 0.3 percent, with financial stocks struggling to recover aReported Mediaser the collapse of the US Silicon Valley bank Rescue of the Swiss lender Credit Suisse from competitor UBS.

The KBW Nasdaq Bank index ended Thursday’s session down 1.7 percent, even aReported Mediaser comments from US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen that regulators “stand ready to take additional action where warranted” to address the issue to ensure safety of bank deposits. The US banking index has lost almost 30 percent in the past two weeks.

The US Federal Reserve continued to hike interest rates by 0.25 percentage points on Wednesday. The Bank of England also raised interest rates by 0.25 percentage points on Thursday.

Citigroup strategist Dirk Willer said it was “too early to say” whether stress in the banking sector had become large enough to significantly affect the US business cycle. But he added that the Fed has “become more cautious, as has the ECB” amid heightened uncertainty.

“We remain negative on risky assets as bank stress tightens credit and reinforces Citi’s call for a US recession [the second half] 2023,” Willer said.

In foreign exchange markets, the dollar index – which tracks the value of the greenback against a basket of other currencies – fell 0.1 percent, while US 10-year Treasury yields fell 0.04 percentage point to 3.385 percent.

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ARK Buys the Wells Dip With $17.7 Million COIN Purchase

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ARK Invest bought COIN low and sold it high this week.

On Tuesday, Cathie Wood’s fund sold 160,887 shares of COIN for $13.5 million when the stock was trading at around $83 per share. A little over 48 hours later, ARK bought the drop, buying 268,928 shares of COIN as the stock fell to close at $66.30 in the US on Thursday.

According to an email sent Thursday evening US time, 230,599 of those shares went to the ARK Innovation ETF (ARKK), while 38,329 of those shares went to the ARK Next Generation Internet ETF (ARKW).

Over the course of those two days Coinbase released that it received a Wells Notice from the Securities and Exchange Commission warning a company that the SEC plans to take enforcement action against it.

A Wells note means that the SEC has completed an investigation and believes the evidence gathered is substantial enough to warrant enforcement action. It does not guarantee enforcement action will be taken, and Coinbase has until March 29 to notify the SEC if it plans to challenge the enforcement action.

The The SEC also announced this on Wednesday that it is suing Justin Sun, the Tron Foundation, the BitTorrent Foundation and Rainberry (née BitTorrent) for selling unregistered securities and manipulating the market through wash trading. Internet personality is Jake Paul also sued for his alleged illegal promotion of Sun-Linked Crypto.

in one last twitter sectionCoinbase CEO Brian Armstrong said the company will become more politically involved and will ask its US-based users to vote for “pro-crypto candidates.”

“What we’re going to do is put out content where people can contact their congressman, donate to pro-crypto candidates, show up in town halls, and get your voice heard,” he said. “We will elect pro-crypto candidates in this country to ensure our success is assured.”

Despite the plunge caused by Wells, COIN is still up 97% year-to-date.

ARK also announced that it has purchased 320,557 shares of Block (SQ) with 275,554 of those shares going to ARKK.

Jack Dorsey’s fintech payments company, which has some crypto exposure, is also down 14% as of Thursday’s close notable short Hindenburg Research attacked it in a scathing report for “wildly” inflating user counts.

Block says the report is inaccurate and intends to “cooperate with the SEC and consider legal action against Hindenburg Research.”

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