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Business trends

Philippine e-payment apps bank on Alibaba and Tencent for growth

Chinese tech groups bring tried-and-true incentives to cash-loving country

A customer scans a GCash QR code at a store in the Philippines. A survey last year found that 46% of bank account holders with internet access hesitated to use e-payments, and 58% feared hacking and data theft. (Photo by Cliff Venzon)

MANILA -- In early December, employees of Philippine financial technology startup Voyager Innovations gathered for a town hall meeting to hear from the company's new foreign owners -- including China's Tencent Holdings, which has ambitious plans for the Southeast Asian market.

"Their main message was: You guys have a great road map. We are not here to tell you how to run your business, but we want to support you properly," said Paolo Azzola, chief operating officer of Voyager's payment app unit PayMaya Philippines.

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