By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
RELX, the leading e-cigarette brand in Asia, has entered the Philippine market and is moving its global customer service here to help Filipino smokers ditch conventional combustion cigarettes in favor of a better and safer alternative at an affordable price.
The RELX starter kit (consisting of one device, a pod and a micro-cable) is priced at P1,599.00 at retail.
“RELX, as it develops future-forward solutions to the world’s one billion adult smokers, now offers to the Philippines’ 15 million adult smokers a better and safer alternative to cigarette smoking through its affordable yet world class product,” said Di Yang, RELX Director for Southeast Asia Business during a press launch of their product.
RELX’s entry in the domestic e-cigarette business, Yang said, would also mean additional investment for the Philippines, including job generation for Filipinos.
Already, Yang announced they are moving our global customer service to a business process outsourcing (BPO) in Manila. “As our international business grows, the demand for BPO agents will increase too,” he pointed out.
“RELX hopes to contribute to the Philippines’ economic growth through the investment that we are bringing, including the employment that we will be generating.” Yan said the Philippines is a key market and intends to continue investing very significantly.
“We will be opening retail outlets, appointing distributors, building up a strong local organization to run what we believe to be a very meaningful presence here,” Yang added. The RELX executive disclosed that the Beijing-based company foresees at least 70-80 percent of the team members to be Filipinos in its Manila operation.
During the press conference, Yang took the opportunity to air his company’s view on the current regulatory environment: “We welcome regulations to ensure that the industry adopts good practices that can benefit the country. We would like to have the opportunity to work with the Philippine government to develop a progressive regulatory framework that best reduce the longstanding negative impact that smoking cigarettes has had on the Philippines.”
He, however, lamented that Administrative Order 2019-0007 issued by the Department of Health (DOH) and the proposed measures in Congress to heavily tax e-cigarettes are counterproductive. “When the new administrative order takes effect, e-cigarettes will effectively be much more heavily regulated and restricted than traditional cigarettes; including a flavor ban, a total advertising ban, and unnecessarily heavy licensing requirements down to the retail level,” Yang said.
“Some of the bills making their way through congress even push for highly unlevel taxations between different types of nicotine liquids that create highly unlevel playing fields not conducive for the industry at best, and at worst may prove unenforceable due to the development of new hybrid e-liquids,” he said.