The Cagayan Export Zone Authority (CEZA), an economic Freeport zone in the north of the Philippines, on Thursday issued the third financial technology solutions and offshore virtual currency (FTSOVC) provisional principal license to Hong Kong-based Liannet Technology Ltd., a subsidiary of Apsaras Group.
With that, CEZA Administrator and Chief Executive Officer Raul Lambino said that his dream of transforming the country like Silicon Valley's counterpart in Asia is now a step closer than before.
"Modesty aside, I can, in all honesty, declare today: The CEZA Fintech hub is already making history," Lambino said. “Twelve of the 17 other fintech and offshore virtual currency firms that have fully paid their application and license fees are waiting in line, 19 of the 36 offshore firms are expected to follow suit.”
He added the blockchain and fintech projects in CEZA would create an estimated 20,000 jobs as soon as his office awards the initial 25 principal licenses to qualified fintech companies.
Lambino said the job openings would be filled by highly-skilled information technology (IT) talents. Other job availability is envisioned for highly-technical positions as well as managerial posts.
Liannet is the third fintech firm granted an FTSOVC license by CEZA, following Golden Millenial Quickpay, Inc., also based in Hong Kong, and Bangkok’s Ultra Precise Investments, Ltd., with the provisional license lasting six months.
Li Jian, president of Apsaras Group, expressed his gratitude to the agency during the Ambertime International Blockchain Summit, held at the EDSA Shangri-La Hotel in Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City.
“We are confident that the CZC Exchange will be able to contribute to the development of CEZA and to serve people who believe in blockchain technology and cryptocurrency,” Li said.
He added they would like to work with CEZA “to create an Asian Silicon Valley using blockchain technology and cryptocurrency.”
However, Lambino said that cryptocurrency trading is just a segment of the blockchain market.
“CEZA’s concern is making it (CEZA) as a financial technology hub, so there are so many accepted fields on fintech. That is about payments, trading of goods and services. This is now the new dynamics of doing business,” he said.
Early this week, Lambino said the massive interest in digital currencies and fintech solutions had helped CEZA to deliver strong revenue with earnings jumping by nearly 52% in the second quarter.
"The overwhelming interest by offshore firms in financial technology solutions and cryptocurrency trading wanting to locate at the Cagayan Special Economic Zone has surpassed all our expectations,” Lambino said, adding that inquiries about the CEZA project are rising on a daily basis.