Davao emerges as among World’s best sites for BPO, ICT business

DAVAO City has been named recently as one of the world’s best investment sites for business process outsourcing (BPO) industry and global offshore ICT hubs, according to a recently released study conducted by the EU-based XMG Global ICT Research and Advisory Service.The other “emerging off-shoring cities” cited in the global study together with Davao in the southern Philippines, include Casablanca in Morocco, Montevideo in Uruguay, and Jakarta in Indonesia.

XMG-Global public affairs officer Pierre Boudreau said foreign researchers and BPO executives who took part in the worldwide study are “very bullish about Davao City.”

This is due to the area’s much larger population of untapped English-speaking students and graduates compared to Cebu in the central Philippines and the country’s capital city of Manila where competition for qualified staff among BPO companies are fierce and the number of call centers and ICTs are nearing “saturation point.”

“We’re impressed by the huge untapped manpower base in Davao. This will be very attractive to many BPO companies in US and Europe planning to locate and expand their operations here,” Boudreau said.

This was confirmed by Teolulo Pasawa, head of the National Economic Research and Business Assistance Center (Nerbac) — a special unit of Davao Region’s Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) — that helps new BPO investors set up their new call centers and other ICT businesses in the city.

“There are many schools, colleges, universities and training centers in Davao today producing thousands of qualified graduates for the BPO industry,” Pasawa said.

The XMG-Global ICT study show that the city of Davao alone with these various educational institutions and training centers, is producing every year a much higher number of IT and BPO qualified graduates than the cities of Subic, Clark and Baguio in central and northern Luzon.

Davao has 689 percent more graduates than Subic, 278 percent more than Clark, and 40 percent more than Baguio.

“This has not even taken into account the manpower pool at the nearby provinces, towns and small cities like Tagum, Panabo, Digos, Bansalan, Mati, Compostela, etc, which are also producing thousands of qualified graduates yearly,” Boudreau said.

The worldwide study highlighted the population of Davao City (1.4 million) as “considerably higher than other Tier-2 offshoring cities globally.”

In the Philippines, Davao City’s population is 71 percent bigger than Cebu City, 499 percent larger than Olongapo City in Subic, 333 percent higher than Angeles City in Clark, and 340 percent bigger than Baguio City.

Davao City’s estimated workforce, according to the study, is twice that of Cebu, nine times bigger than Subic, seven times bigger than Clark, and six times bigger than Baguio.

Modern telecom facilities, transportation networks, and public transport systems are already in place in Davao, according to Boudreau, “but there’s still a lot of room to further improve and modernize these facilities and services.”

To attract more BPO and ICT locators to Davao, XMG Researcher Camille Lumbang urged both the government and private sector “to act together with plans and programs to boost the overall image of Davao” as a top investment site for ICT and BPO businesses.

Foreign BPO executives are amazed that while Davao is now identified with three other global cities as best sites for BPO and ICT investments, “this fact alone has not sank in yet as local officials still could hardly believe it,” said Lumbang.




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