Why the Philippines
The Philippines is ranked #1 in the availability of knowledge-based jobs and workers worldwide and ranked 4th among Asian nations in labor quality, according to a survey conducted by the U.S. based Meta Group. Aside from the huge pool of productive, trainable and multi-skilled labor force, the Philippines competes in the quality of its managers and information technology (IT) staff and engineers. The unique edge comes from a high level of proficiency in English (the Philippines is the 3rd largest English-speaking country in the world).
The Philippines is located in Asia - today, the fastest growing region. Flanked by two great trade routes - the Pacific Ocean and South China Sea - the Philippines is an ideal base for business, a critical entry point to over 500 million people in the ASEAN market. The country is a natural choice as an ASEAN Gateway in the international shipping and air lanes, particularly European and North American businesses.
The Philippines is the best Asian country in overall quality of expatriate life, according to the March 2000 survey of Hong Kong's Political Risk Consultancy Ltd (PERC). The Philippines ranked third in all countries surveyed - next to Australia and the U.S. - and was ahead of Singapore and Japan. Rated highly were its cultural compatibility with expatriates, its housing, sporting and recreational facilities, quality healthcare and first-rate educational institutions.
An archipelago like the Philippines offers diverse natural resources, from land to marine to mineral resources. It is also the biggest copper producer in Southeast Asia and among the top ten producer of gold in the world. It is also home to 2,145 fish species, four times more than those found in the Bahamas. The 7,100 islands boast of beautiful beaches and breathtaking sceneries that offer soothing leisure and relaxation spots for vacationers and tourists.
Low Cost of Doing Business
Wages are typically less than a fifth of that in the U.S. Local communication, electricity and housing costs are also 50% lower compared to the U.S. rates. Foreign companies that are now outsourcing programming and business processes to the Philippines estimate 30 to 40% business cost savings, 15 to 30% call center services and application systems and 35 to 50% software development.
The Philippine government has redefined its role through privatization that allowed private sector participation in developing infrastructure and services in the country. It is adopting the innovative Build-Operate-Transfer scheme, a model now being followed by other countries due to its success.
The country has opened up its economy by allowing 100% foreign ownership in almost all sectors of the economy. It has strengthened its capital markets and deregulated the banking, insurance, as well as the shipping and telecommunication sectors, removing most, if not all, the monopoly structures in the Philippine market economy.
Attractive incentive packages are available to qualified enterprises in the country's numerous Special Economic Zones and Industrial Estates. The Special Economic Zone's are being nurtured to become balanced agricultural, industrial, commercial and recreational hubs of activity.
Corporate income tax has been reduced to 32% from 34% in 1998, with companies located in economic zones/export zones subject to only a 5% overall tax rate.
Unlimited Business Opportunities
As ASEAN economies integrate within the framework of the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA), the Philippines is the natural and most strategic location for firms that want access to the large ASEAN market and its vast trade opportunities. It has complied with WTO, APEC, and AFTA agreements and has reduced tariff rates on manufactured goods. The Philippines has enhanced and primed up various areas of business for investors and offers a dynamic consumer market accustomed to array of product choices created by a competitive domestic economy.
All You Need and More
The Philippines offers state-of-the-art telecommunications facilities, adequate and uninterrupted power supply. There are ready-to-occupy offices and production facilities, computer security and building monitoring systems, as well as complete office services in specialized IT zones. With the government's focus on building up an IT-enabled economy, the Philippines is on its way to becoming the E-services Hub of Asia.
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