Philippines call centres: Hot seats
Although the Philippines has largely failed to compete against its northern neighbours in manufacturing, it has managed to find other niches to compensate. One of the fastest growing of these is the business process outsourcing (BPO) or call centres industry, encompassing everything from help desks and transcription to telemarketing and credit collection.
This is estimated to have been worth some $1.5 billion in 2005 from a standing start in 2000 and is targeted to grow to $10 billion by 2010.
With a young, well-educated and English-speaking workforce, BPO in the Philippines has benefited from low labour costs similar to those in India, some of the lowest office rents in Asia and a series of very positive investment incentives from the government.
Telecom costs have also reduced significantly over recent years, thanks largely to a deregulated market. With labour and telecom costs accounting for some 90% of BPO operating costs according to CLSA, that already makes the Philippines an attractive location for BPO centres.