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Hi-tech meets old world - and it's all in the family

December 15, 2000
Web posted at: 2:35 PM HKT (0635 GMT)

Abigail, Annabelle and Arlene Yap are among a new breed of young Filipino executives out to modernize bricks and mortar companies with their hi-tech savvy.

Hi-tech meets old world - and it's all in the family

Through these family members, aged 23 to 28, are giving an online presence to their uncle Felipe Yap's more traditional businesses in mining, securities and insurance.

It's a case of old meets wired. Each second-generation Yap - including two of Felipe's own children - head a Yapster subsidiary. Felipe sits as chairman and is the brood's mentor, sharing wisdom from more than 45 years in business.

" is really a gateway to all the services we provide and we basically narrowed it down to two distinct divisions," says Abigail Yap, the president and chief executive of "One is online services, or value-added services, and the other one is infrastructure."

"Experience is still the best teacher," she adds. "When you combine youth with someone who has the knowledge of 45 years of the traditional business or 20 years of the traditional business then you get the strength of both worlds."

The result is a hip web site that provides a whole suite of services to help traditional companies migrate onto the Internet.

One-stop shop

Yapster offers everything from managing back offices, to making life in the new economy hassle-free for executives, both young and old.

Annabelle Yap, the chief executive of says: "Everyone going online needs a partner. We offer online booking, which means you basically have all the information at hand: all the flight details, all the availability, and then you can choose based on that (information)."

Arlene Yap, the chief executive of, adds: "We want to educate the public about e-learning and its benefits, how to evaluate the proper e-learning solution for each company, from the staff-level to the CEO."

Family business

In the fast-changing dotcom world, where companies are going under because of lack of resources and experience, Yapster is intent on remaining a family business.

"A lot of people say that the rules of the old economy no longer apply to the new economy but I think it goes back to the basic thing," says Leo Magno, editor of Inquirer Infotech. "He who has the capital rules. And it's just by accident that a lot of new economy entrants here (in the Philippines) are also the old economy businesses."

But like most dotcoms, the younger generation Yaps are planning an initial public offering of shares. And with the guidance of the older generation, Yapster hopes to become one of Asia's more successful dotcoms.


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