Philippines Says Number of Online Businesses Has Jumped 40 Times

(Bloomberg) — The number of registered Philippine online businesses surged more than 40 times in the past five months as people turned to the Internet for income amid one of the world’s longest lockdowns.

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A pedestrian wearing a protective mask walks through a deserted precinct in Bonifacio Global City, Metro Manila, the Philippines. on Monday, July 27, 2020. In his annual address to lawmakers today, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to unveil an economic recovery roadmap. At the start of the coronavirus outbreak, Duterte said the disease would “die a natural death.” Five months later, the pandemic is raging, the economy is facing a deep contraction, and his political future could be at stake.

Registered online business names soared to over 75,000 last week from 1,700 in March, the Department of Trade and Industry said in a statement on Tuesday.

Booming Online Businesses Are Next Target in Philippine Tax Hunt

The boom bodes well for the government, which is moving to tax online transactions as collections fall and spending rises due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Philippines expects its budget deficit to swell to a record this year as it sets an all-time high borrowing plan for 2021 to help the economy recover from a recession.

“The silver lining in Covid-19 is the accelerated adoption of e-commerce,” Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said, adding that the agency’s shift to digital business registration has also helped.

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