PH catches GE’s eye amid boom in emerging Asia
80 firms visited to check opportunitiesBy Riza T. Olchondra
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The Philippines has caught the eye of the likes of American giant General Electric, whose research and development (R&D) arm is exploring growth opportunities in Asia.
As of June, 28 inbound missions (groups of business leaders) and 80 individual firms sent officials to Manila. There’s one more on the way: GE Global Research.
Asked to confirm buzz on GE Global’s interest in the Philippines, Trade Undersecretary Cristino L. Panlilio said company executives were set to meet with trade officials.
“It just says the Philippines is in the radar of world investors,” Panlilio said of the meetings.
As for GE Global, he said, “They’re interested in engineering design. It may be an R&D, BPO [business process outsourcing] type of operation.”
Aside from hosting and providing talent, the Philippines can also offer assembly facilities, Panlilio said.
“We can follow up with assembly of machinery, like jet engines, turbines,” he said.
GE Global may be offered locations in economic zones such as those in Clark and Subic.
“We want to create an ecosystem for them. For manufacturers to come in, 60 to 70 percent of what they need must be accessible here,” Panlilio said.
He said there was a maker of sophisticated technology products such as aircraft wing flap mechanisms for Boeing and Airbuses. It operates in the Baguio City Economic Processing Zone, which hosts many other electronics and high-technology firms.
Such ecosystems, economists say, boost economic growth through investments and job creation not only in the growth engines (BPO, manufacturing, etc.) but also in allied sectors such as food and retail, which benefit from consumer spending.
The Business Processing Association of the Philippines reported that revenue in the country’s outsourcing sector reached $11 billion in 2011, with 643,000 people employed.
The Philippines had an 18 percent share of the $44 to 46 billion global BPO market in 2011, right behind India, according to Everest Group Analysis.
However, the Philippines had only 1 to 1.5 percent share of the $10-billion global engineering outsourcing market, which is seen as a high-growth sector.
As such, the Department of Science and Technology (DoST) is pushing for the Philippines to climb the engineering services ladder. “We are No. 1 in call centers. We intend to double our market share in three other fast-growing services: information technology, engineering services and multilingual BPO,” DoST deputy executive director for ICT industry development Alejandro P. Melchor III said in a presentation to engineering educators last June.
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