Pogo sector overtakes IT-BPO in office space use
The fast-growing Philippine offshore gaming operator (Pogo) industry has overtaken the information technology-business process outsourcing (IT-BPO) industry as the biggest market for new office space in Metro Manila and could contribute as much as $11.6 billion to the economy this year.
This is according to David Leechiu, chief executive officer of Leechiu Property Consultants (LPC), a leading real estate services firm.
He estimated the annual salary of Pogo workers at $9 billion even if the industry currently employs only 470,000 versus the IT-BPO sector, which has an estimated annual payroll of $7.5 billion out of 1.4 million workers.
And while Pogo workers are mostly foreign, especially those working for entities targeting online gamblers in mainland China, Leechiu said these foreign workers were spending most of their earnings here.
Apart from the consumer spending stimuli, Leechiu noted that estimated annual office rental by Pogos—which now accounted for about 12 percent of office stock—would amount to around $219 million (P11 billion) while estimated annual housing rental would be around $680 million (P36 billion).
In the first nine months of the year, LPC estimated that Pogos accounted for 375,000 square meters (sq m) or 38 percent of new office demand, compared to the IT-BPO sector which took up 294,000 sq m or 30 percent.
Excluding nonrecurring fit-out costs, LPC estimated the annual impact of Pogos on the domestic economy at around $9.9 billion, summing up salaries, office and housing rental.
LPC expects new office takeup in Metro Manila to replicate if not beat last year’s 1.2-million sq m record, aided by Pogos despite the controversies hounding the sector.
As such, the metropolis would keep its position as the world’s fourth largest office market after Shanghai, Beijing and Tokyo.
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