Philippines Well-Positioned as Asia’s Next Trade Hub

As members of the ASEAN ramp up development projects and prepare for integration, the Philippines is well-positioned to be Asia’s alternative trade hub, and not only for its strong economic performance in the past few years. Chartered financial analyst Dr. Felixberto Bustos Jr. enumerated characteristics of the country that make it Asia’s next hot destination for locators and investors.

One of the main factors is the lower cost of doing business in the Philippines. Bustos said the country’s labor cost is only 25 percent of China’s labor cost, and it is cheaper to operate a business here than in Singapore or Hong Kong due to lower living expenses and office space/residential rent.

Another factor is location. Bustos said that the country is close to Japan, China and Singapore, and it is a gateway to the Pacific from the Unites States. “We’re roughly 12 hours from New York, seven hours from London and an hour from Tokyo. If you’re trying to keep your transaction flow the whole day, then we’re a good alternate to other financial centers,” said Bustos. He added that the reason outsourcing in the Philippines flourishes and BPOs end up in the Philippines is because of the country’s great connectivity to the world.

Filipinos are also used to working with different nationalities, proven by many successful workers who were assigned abroad to lead office branches. The population is relatively young, well-educated, highly trainable and speaks English with excellent proficiency. The country’s public and private institutions also use English documents, preventing the need for interpreters.