Social media platform Lyka scouting for Philippine office

Social media platform Lyka Global is scouting for an office in the Philippines as property prices in the country continue to decline due to uncertainties brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lyka said it is setting up a physical office in the country to complement its growing roster of wholly owned subsidiaries in the US, South Korea, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

The social media platform said it is now looking for a country head and a support team for its Philippine operations and to comply with the requirement of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to register as an operator of payment system (OPS).

“Lyka Global shall register as an OPS as directed by the BSP and will immediately put up its own office in the country,” it added.

Lyka, launched in the Philippines by a Hong Kong-based Things I Like in 2019, allows its users to purchase, exchange, and use gift cards in electronic mode (GEMs) as payment for goods and services.

An OPS refers to cash-in service providers, bills payment service providers, and entities such as payment gateways, platform providers, payment facilitators and merchant acquirers that enable sellers of goods and services to accept payments, in cash or digital form.

The operator of the social media platform decided to end its partnership with marketing arm Digital Spring Marketing and Advertising Inc. after the BSP rejected its registration as an OPS on behalf of Lyka or Things I Like Company Ltd.

The central bank upheld the cease-and-desist order (CDO) issued against Digital Spring last July 23, reiterating that Lyka or Things I Like and not Digital Spring should register as OPS with the BSP. 

“It is unfortunate that we have to end our partnership with Digital Spring as we take on the challenge of operating in the Philippines on our own,” Lyka added.

It clarified that all contracts entered into by its local partners would be transferred to the new company to make sure that all obligations and signed agreements are honored.

Lyka said it would closely cooperate with regulators, particularly the BSP, in order to keep advancing the first cashless and seamless social media gift card in the world.

“The addition of an entity in a social media hub like the Philippines can only bring Lyka a step closer to its vision of becoming a global app conglomerate,” the company said.

BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno announced last July 23 the activities of Lyka as an OPS until it is registered with the central bank as mandated under Republic Act 11127 or the National Payment Systems Act (NPSA) and BSP Circular No. 1049.

“Instead of challenging the BSP’s decision before a judicial forum, Lyka has determined that the fastest resolution to the matter is to simply commence the registration of its own Philippine entity as an OPS, including setting up its own Philippine operations and equipping it with the best talent possible,” it said.