Local franchising firms must brace themselves for the influx of foreign franchises once the Asean Economic Community is put in place in 2015.
Samie Lim, chair emeritus of the Philippine Franchising Association (PFA), urged local franchises to start building their brands and their systems to be more competitive.
At the same time, Lim also sought government support in the form of financial aid for local franchises’ participation in various meetings and expos abroad, particularly in Europe and the United States; site search and evaluation assistance; and provision of support in setting up business matching activities for potential franchises abroad.
By 2015, the Asean will establish an “Asean Economic Community,” defined as a single market and distribution base, highly competitive economic region with equitable economic development, and a region fully integrated into the global economy.
The establishment of such a community will mean greater openness of the local market to foreign brands.
Although there are a number of brands that have gone global, Lim said a lot of local companies into franchising were still not ready for the impact of the Asean economic integration.
These franchising firms are strong in the Philippines but not worldwide, and not even in Asia.
In the world market, we are still nothing, Lim added.
Some of the local franchise brands that have expanded abroad include Jollibee, Max’s Restaurant, Goldilocks, Potato Corner, Crystal Clear, Bench and Golden ABC.
Local franchises, however, have an advantage as a survey conducted by the US-based International Franchise Association showed that the Philippines was one of the best destinations for overseas expansion for franchising firms.
The top destination is Chile; followed by the US; Japan and China (tied scores); and Canada, Australia, Mexico and the Philippines.
These countries were measured based on expected 2013 gross domestic product growth; market size; legal concerns for international brands; ease of market entry; ease of starting a new business; and political and economic stability.
These same conditions present opportunities that local companies must seize, Lim stressed.
To help local firms, the PFA has organized the Franchise Asia Philippines 2013, which will feature resource speakers who will share their success stories and best practices.
Foreign companies are also visiting the Philippines this month during the franchise expo to look at opportunities for expansion in the country.
Lim said that franchising was a boon to global economy as it promotes entrepreneurship and generates millions of jobs. Amy R. Remo