Why Invest in the Philippines?
The business case for doing business in and with the Philippines is very straightforward:
- Quality human resources
- Strategic business location
- Liberalized and business-friendly economy
- First-class lifestyle for expatriates
- Extensive business opportunities
- Low start-up costs
Infrastructure for global growth
Quality Human Resources
The Filipino workforce is one of the most compelling competitive advantages that the Philippines has over any other Asian country. With education being a primary social value among Filipinos, the literacy rate stands at 94.6% - among the highest. English is taught in all schools and is the preferred language of business and commerce, making the Philippines the world's third-largest English-speaking country. Every year, an additional 350,000 graduates further enrich the professional pool. Filipino workers are also widely appreciated because they are easily trainable, able to cooperate with fellow workers, and possess excellent management aptitude.
Strategic Business Location
The Philippines is located right at the heart of East Asia and is within four hours flying time of the major capitals in the region. Straddling the crossroads of the eastern and western business world, the Philippines can serve either as a critical entry point to the over 500 million people in the ASEAN Free Trade Area market or as a manufacturing platform to access the powerhouse economies of East Asia, namely China, Japan, and Korea.
Liberalized and Business-Friendly Economy
An open economy allows 100% foreign ownership in almost all sectors* and supports a Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) investment scheme. Government corporations are being privatized and the banking, insurance, shipping, telecommunications, and power industries have been deregulated. Incentive packages include reduced corporate income tax rates and even tax exemptions and tax- and duty-free importation of specific equipment and materials.
*The Foreign Investment Negative List enumerates sectors where restriction in foreign ownership applies.
First-Class Lifestyle for Expatriates
Discover the best of sun, sea, sand, and style in a tropical setting teeming with the best of Western amenities. Expatriates will, soon after arriving in the Philippines, consider it their second home and enjoy the company of the warmest people in the region. Filipinos are known for their openness to all cultures and their decidedly global outlook. Expats enjoy accessible and affordable living amenities, such as housing, schools, hospitals, shopping malls, hotels, restaurants, business centers, cultural and recreational facilities, golf courses, and beach resorts.
Extensive Business Opportunities
As the Southeast Asian economies integrate within the vast framework of the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement, or AFTA, the Philippines is the natural and most strategic location for firms that want access to the large ASEAN market of 500 million people and the highly viable trade opportunities that it has to offer. The Philippines has enhanced and primed up various areas for investors and offers a dynamic and technology savvy consumer market of 96 million Filipinos accustomed to an array of product choices created by a highly competitive domestic economy.
As the second-largest archipelago in the world, the Philippines offers such natural bounty from land to marine to mineral resources. It is the biggest copper producer in Southeast Asia and among the top ten producers of gold in the world. The country is home to 2,145 fish species, four times more than those found in the Bahamas. The more than 7,100 islands of the archipelago all boast of beautiful beaches and breathtaking vistas that offer soothing relaxation spots for vacationers and tourists. The Philippines is perhaps the best place in the world to mix business with pleasure.
Low Start-Up Costs
On top of all that, the Philippines offers comparatively low start-up costs for businesses. Compensation standards are typically less than a fifth of those in the US and Europe. Local communication, electricity, and housing costs are also 50% lower compared to US rates. Foreign firms that have outsourced their back office services (e.g. business processes and programming) to the Philippines have reported between 30% to 40% in business cost savings, including 15% to 30% from call center services and application systems, and 35% to 50% from software development.
Infrastructure for Global Growth
Well-developed communication, transportation, business and economic infrastructure link the three major island groups and facilitate business growth and competitiveness. Highly accessible by air, water, and cyberspace, liberalization of inter-island shipping and domestic aviation has further sparked improvements in facilities and services. Container terminals are suited to handle cargo traffic with the highest level of efficiency. Communication provides redundant international connectivity 24/7 with fiber optic cables as the primary backbone network and satellite as backup. Economic reforms emphasize regional growth, converting remote areas into business centers. The landmark BOT legislation allows private investors to engage in turnkey projects, building the required infrastructure and managing its use before turning it over to the Philippine government after a set period of time.
All You Need and More
If what you seek is a complete investment destination, with the resources (both human and natural), competitive business climate, infrastructure, and livable environment, then the Philippines has all you need and more. With its state-of-the-art telecommunications facilities, adequate and uninterrupted power supply, ready-to-occupy offices and production facilities with computer security and building monitoring systems, as well as complete office services in specialized IT zones, all the investor needs to do is arrive and set up shop in the country that is fast becoming the e-services and manufacturing hub of Asia.