SM Mall of Asia’s emerging business district
FILIPINOS may not realize it yet, but this area north of SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City is now home to many large, well-respected and important multinational companies and brands, quietly operating and setting up regional headquarters or other vital aspects of their businesses in the Philippines.
According to April Misa, senior leasing manager of SM Prime’s commercial properties group: “There’s the Telstra logo on Five E-com Center’s building, which was put up under representation of BPO firm TeleTech, which services the telco firm along with some other big local BPO companies like Convergys and Teleperformance (the latest expansion of TeleTech was largely driven by its Telstra account, hence the exclusive branding).”
Perhaps, taking the cue from TeleTech, TSA, an Australian group that services Telstra, it has also expanded from its office in Makati to Five E-com Center.
“If not contracting third party providers, multinational companies are putting up in-house shared services groups, such as credit giant Visa. The company, which used to just have a representative office in the Philippines, has ventured into the captive shared services market and expanded at Five E-comCenter,” related Misa.
Another exciting new addition at Five E-com Center is Vestas, one of the biggest turbine makers in the world. Based in Denmark, the company has established here its knowledge process outsourcing operations involving software and mechanical engineers.
Scenery, campus setting
According to Misa, Vestas management looked at various sites in Metro Manila but went for Five E-com Center because of the scenery and the campus environment. As expected of European firms, the process was very stringent, involving procedures such as interviewing tenants in the other E-comCenter buildings (One and Two).
Misa said the Danish country manager even tested walking in the complex in the middle of the night to check for security, and tried to take the MRT from MOA to Makati to test transportation availability.
Moreover, popular American global cruise company Royal Caribbean has likewise called this area its regional office headquarters as they venture into the Asian market.
Meanwhile, Panalpina and Kuehne + Nagel are logistics company previously located in Parañaque City and have also moved to Five E-com Center, following the lead of industry partners such as Maersk, CMA CGM and Anscor Swire that are among the pioneer tenants of the E-com complex.
According to Misa, the E-com Center masterplan is comprised of at least six buildings on a grid of square lots of more than 10,000 square meters each. It is perhaps the only development of its kind that has been deliberately designed with the needs of BPO firms in mind.
The 10-story One E-com Center started operations in 2008 while the 15-story Two E-Com Center in 2012. Three E-Com Center, which is currently under construction will be operational by 2017 while construction of the 16-story Four E-Com Center started early this year. The 15-level Five E-Com Center, with a gross floor area of 126,907 sqm and a leasable area of approximately 88,000 sqm 15-story was turned over early this year.
Misa related that the E-com buildings have become a preferred location even to shipping-related companies, primarily for its proximity to the bay area and to the international airport as well. “With the completion of the new Naia expressway by the end of the year, accessibility of the Mall of Asia Complex will be even more enhanced.”
As noted by SM Prime SVP and commercial properties group head David Rafael, maritime companies gravitating toward the E-com hub is quite an interesting phenomenon. “Whereas companies within an industry would instinctively consider location carefully to avoid employee poaching or consumer competition, these shipping companies tend to end up where predecessors have set up shop,” he noted.
He added that location is really key for these firms adding that the manpower, transportation and infrastructure resources that they need are already present in the area.
Misa relates that location and accessibility are the top consideration for these locators establishing themselves in SM’s new E-com Center business district noting that the traditional central business districts of Makati, Ortigas and even Bonifacio Global City are proving to be increasingly crowded, not to mention prohibitive price-wise.
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