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PH seen to become SE Asia’s franchising hub

The Philippines is well poised to become a franchise hub and investment haven in an integrated Asean economy, as the country enters the so-called “double sweet spot,” which will enable local and foreign firms to cash in on the economic boom that is expected to continue through the next decade.

Speaking at the Franchise Asia Philippines Conference 2014 Thursday, Samie Lim, chair emeritus of the Philippine Franchise Association (PFA), noted that the country’s thrust to become the franchising hub of the region would soon become a reality given the influx of foreign brands to the country and the number of businesses that had set up shop here.

The number of foreign brands participating in the ongoing franchise expo alone has risen by 400 percent, indicating huge interest in the Philippine market. These franchises come from the United States, the United Kingdom, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Lim pointed to a study made by EGS, an international consultancy and survey firm, which showed that the Philippines outperformed other countries in the region in terms of attracting franchise investments.

Also, most foreign companies considered the Philippines to be an excellent regional headquarters for international franchises. This stellar ranking was attributed to the country’s huge and young population, with a median age of 23; cosmopolitan people who love to shop and dine;  English-speaking, well-educated, and service-oriented labor force; and strategic location.

Also, the Philippines is entering a “double sweet spot in terms of working age population and rise of income,” which Lim said could become an investor’s gold mine in the coming years.

“We will have a booming economy for 10 years and we are just entering that spot in 2015. That’s next year, and we’re here at the very start of the boom,” he said.

In the same conference, Trade Secretary Gregory L. Domingo has committed to provide support for the franchising industry, possibly by subsidizing local companies’ participation in international trade and exhibition events.

“We’ll see if there’s enough budget. Most likely, this will happen next year,” Domingo said.

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