CITING ISSUES HANGING OVER INDUSTRY

Aseana Holdings takes conservative stance on BPO

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Aseana Holdings Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of D.M. Wenceslao & Associates Inc. is taking a “conservative” approach when it comes to office projects in the business process outsourcing (BPO) market due to several issues hanging like dark clouds over the industry.

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In a recent interview, Aseana Holdings Managing Director Delfin Angelo Wenceslao told reporters the company is more conservative in developing new BPO buildings, but will still continue to develop project in the pipeline.

Based on the company’s development pipeline, it aims to start developing 50,000 square meters (sqm) of office space before ramping up development to 100,000 sqm and eventually to 500,000 sqm.

One issue that has been putting a drag on the BPO market is the uncertainty brought about by the Trump presidency, particularly on keeping jobs in the US which could hurt outsourcing companies operating in the Philippines.

“He would protect American jobs going outside via outsourcing. It’s something that he would like to reduce,
“Colliers International Director for Valuation and Advisory Julius Guevara said in an earlier interview.

“At this point, all you can really do is wait and see whether or not real policies will be placed by the new Trump government,” Guevara said.

Wenceslao said BPO firms are also in a wait-and-see stance. “If you talk to a lot of them right now, some of them are in a wait-and-see for new entrants and expansion.”

Another issue is the rise of automation that could replace low-skilled BPO workers.

In a forum last week, Business Process Outsourcing International Inc. President and CEO Maria Christina Concepcion noted the BPO industry has been disrupted by this latest development.

“The reality is this industry has been disrupted and the disruption did not come from Trump. We’re disrupted by technology, new business models,” Concepcion said, noting the use of Robotics Process Automation (RPA) in the outsourcing sector.

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