This study explores the evolving landscape of e–commerce in the Philippines. It looks at two information and communication technology (ICT) applications that are being used innovatively by Filipinos: mobile phone–based cash systems and social networking websites to enable small entrepreneurs to venture into e–commerce. The article investigates how these two technologies help overcome barriers for individuals to participate in e–commerce, and explores how small and informal markets are evolving in the information age. The research samples individuals already doing business online (through Multiply.com), investigates the profile of these new entrepreneurs, the limitations of their market and explore how they nurture their business. While this phenomenon of using social networks and m–cash may primarily involve an urban population, it is significant for development, nonetheless, considering the growing segment of the poor found in urban locales. Further, lessons for the rural population can still be derived by analysing the barriers to entry in the online world, provided that access to infrastructure (that is, the Internet, courier and G–Cash services) is available. In this regard, the linking enablers/disablers of online commerce to offline contexts remains crucial.
Alampay, E. A. Filipino Entrepreneurs on the Internet: When Social Networking Websites Meet Mobile Commerce. Science, Technology & Society (2008) 13 (2) 211-231 [doi:10.1177/097172180801300203]