Philippines improves chances of being China alternative
The government’s aggressive stance against corruption and the country’s recently upgraded credit ratings have made the Philippines a stronger contender in the race to become a viable investment alternative to China.
Ralph Timmermann, counselor and deputy head of mission at the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Manila, said there had been some inquiries from German firms regarding investing in the Philippines, as part of their quest for an alternative investment destination.
“We see interest coming from these companies. The first wave of investments went to China, being the most important destination in Asia. But there’s now an increasing interest to diversify to other countries and not depend solely on China,” Timmermann said in a recent interview.
Locations being eyed, he said, included Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.
Due to recent positive developments in the economy, Timmermann said the Philippines had increased its chances of being picked as a China alternative.
“The Philippines has very good chances because of its size and its population. It has an interesting market and it has well educated English speakers, so it’s a good place to invest in,” Timmermann said.
German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. president Reiner Allgeier said one concrete example of German firms’ interest in the country was the ongoing $30-million expansion program of Lufthansa Technik Philippines Inc.
A new hangar is now being built to enable the company to service Airbus 380s, which have wing spans of almost 80 meters. Once completed, this facility will make the Philippines one of only a handful of locations in the world that can service such large jets.
Allgeier said most German companies were also looking at the renewable energy and business process outsourcing sectors as the most viable industries for their investments.
The Philippines’ thrust to increase the share of RE in the power mix had piqued the interest of German investors, especially those in the solar sector, he said.
In the BPO sector, Timmermann said the Philippines had the potential to host more centers with agents taking calls in languages other than English, possibly including German.
“Filipinos are very capable of learning languages, and when they do speak in another language, there’s almost no detectable accent. That is ideal for BPO services,” he said, adding that the government should capitalize on such innate competitive advantages to expand the local BPO scene to beyond United States-based clients.
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