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Cebu is safe haven for BPO growth

First Posted 11:01:00 12/12/2008

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A MAJOR international real estate company has decided to open a full-service office in Cebu as part of its confidence in the investment potential of the metropolis for tourism and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO).

?In all of our appraisal studies, we have not seen a reduction in values,? said Raffy Cenzon, CB Richard Ellis associate director for violation and advisory services, ?rather, there's a renewed confidence by property owners and developers, coupled by the continuing influx of investors looking to see what's cooking in Cebu.?

Officials, headed by chairman Rick Santos, were in Cebu the other day to give a briefing on the economic outlook for 2009. The briefing was held at the Marcelo Fernan Cebu Press Center.

Tourism and BPOs have increasingly made Cebu a hub of foreign direct investment, a trend the company has noticed.

?For the past couple of years, Cebu City has become an emerging hub for the outsourcing industry,? said Santos. He said the BPO industry was Cebu's ?biggest opportunity.?

CB Richard Ellis is a a Fortune 500 company with headquarters in Los Angeles and is considered the world's largest commercial real estate services firm with more than 300 offices worldwide.

The firm's clients in Cebu include Accenture and the ICT group.

As corporations continue to outsource to survive the global financial crisis, Santos said he was optimistic about the growth of the BPO industry, pointing to the Asiatown IT Park and the Cebu Business Park where BPO firms are concentrated.

?As companies' revenues are under pressure, multinationals look to save costs and move offshore to the Philippines as it's easier to save a dollar than make a dollar. Moving them to multiple outsourcing destination, and looking beyond the CBDs to find lower labor costs and land values, make the outlook good for Cebu City,? he said.

?Large corporations are being hit hard by the U.S. recession. They're searching for a safe haven for their investments, and having doubts about security in India. Cebu is an ideal choice.?

After the Mumbai terrorist attacks, more BPOs in India will be inclined to set up secondary operations and backup / mirror sites in the Philippines. More Indian BPOs will follow the lead of WIPRO and Infoysis and look to set up in Cebu Philippines.

?Recently, the bulk of demand for new office space has come from the Cebu-based operations of multinational companies, call centers and BPOs which are expanding to Cebu from CBDs in Metro Manila, and foreign IT companies who have made Cebu a base for their Philippines operations,? said Joey Radovan, vice chairman and head of global corporate services.

?We've also seen companies expanding here from India, in order to have a base of operations in both outsourcing hubs.?

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