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Davao is next big thing for BPO firms

By Amy R. Remo, Jenina Borromeo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 22:51:00 04/15/2010

Filed Under: Investments, business process outsourcing (BPO)

THE BUSINESS PROCESSING ASSOCIATION of the Philippines (BPAP) now considers Davao, one of Mindanao?s major cities, to be the best investment site for business process outsourcing and information technology, according to its top official.

In a briefing Thursday, BPAP CEO Oscar R. Sañez said Davao ranked first in the group?s Top 10 Next Wave Cities 2010, due mainly to the availability of graduates and workers, as well as low cost of doing business in the city and outlying areas.

Although it topped this year?s list, Davao still ranked low in terms of risk management and travel advisories due to its proximity to areas of conflict in Mindanao. Most foreigners tend to associate the island with war and kidnappings.

Sañez pointed out that in addition to talent, other factors affecting the city?s top ranking were infrastructure and business environment.

He explained that cities were scored for the quality of their roads, access to international and domestic flights, presence of providers of fiber optic networks, reliability of power supply, availability of property sites, cost of labor and office space, vulnerability to natural disturbances, peace and order situation and presence of economic zones, among others.

The other cities in the Top 10 were Sta. Rosa, Laguna; Bacolod-Iloilo; Metro Cavite; Lipa, Batangas; Cagayan de Oro; Malolos, Bulacan; Baguio and Dumaguete.

These Next Wave Cities alone are expected to contribute $1.2 billion in additional revenue over the next two years, while increasing employment by 60 percent, BPAP executive director Gillian Joyce G. Virata said.

The Next Wave cities program provides a ?great avenue for local empowerment? as the cities are able to redefine themselves and create fresh business opportunities as those in Metro Manila and Metro Cebu, Sañez explained.

As of end-2009, there are 442,000 employees in the Philippine IT-BPO sector, but majority or about 85 percent of the sector is located in established hubs such as Metro Manila, Metro Cebu and Metro Clark.

Sañez added that about 78 percent of IT-BPO activity takes place in Metro Manila alone.

?Having ten Next Wave Cities and more will ease the pressure to raise salaries and rental rates in these major hubs and spread the benefits of employment, higher incomes and increased business activity across the country,? BPAP said.

For 2010, the industry targets to generate some $9.5 billion in revenues with a minimum growth rate of 26 percent, Sañez said.



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