BPO industry to drive business district growth

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THE country’s Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry will drive the creation of more business districts, according to a real estate services firm Jones Lang Lasalle Philippines (JLL) said in a statement on Wednesday.

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“There’s a lot of confidence in the market. All the major developers are expanding their geographic reach. Even high net worth individuals have been investing in the office sector attracted by the recurring income they can enjoy for the lifetime of a building,” JLL Regional Director and Head of Leasing Shiela Lobien said.

Among the established business districts in Metro Manila are the Makati Central Business District, Fort Bonifacio, and Ortigas while among those who are still emerging are Bay City, Quezon City, and Alabang.

Aside from driving the growth of established and emerging business districts, JLL noted that the BPO industry is “still driving the creation of new ones close to heavily populated residential areas.”

Lobien noted that BPO companies and other players in the outsourcing industry continue to grow at 18-19 per cent year-on-year.

“Once they have 5,000 seats in the bigger business districts, they are likely to locate their expansion offices out of town, or where they can easily hire more agents,” Lobien said.

Locations where BPO companies can expand are in the smaller or emerging business district. An example cited by JLL is that of the Alabang area, particularly along the Daang Hari corridor in Southern Metro Manila, where in the proposed Vista Alabang business hub by the Vista Land and Lifescapes Inc. will soon rise.

The real estate services firm, who is exclusively marketing the VistaHub Molino building in that development, noted the interest of BPO companies to locate in the emerging business district, driven by the accessibility to the area mainly due to the Muntinlupa-Cavite Expressway (MCX).

The four-kilometer long toll road links Daang Hari and the rest of Cavite to the Muntinlupa portion of the Southern Luzon Expressway.

“The interest in VistaHub Molino, the first office building in a proposed BPO hub, is generated by its location at the gateway of Cavite’s dense residential areas,” JLL said.

Also, the Daang Hari road is accessible from Las Piñas, Muntinlupa and Parañaque, where a significant number of the working age population resides.

“It is one or two rides away from the homes of a young labor pool that has been subjected to two to three hours travel time to work and who would welcome traveling a shorter distance,” JLL said.

Apart from emerging business districts such as the Alabang business district, Lobien noted that BPO companies are also choosing to expand their operations in the provinces, particularly in the next wave cities for BPOs.

Among the next wave cities listed by the Department of Science and Technology-Information and Communications Technology Office (DOST-ICTO), Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP), and Leechiu Property Consultants (LPC), earlier this year are Baguio, Cagayan De Oro, Dagupan, Dasmariñas, Dumaguete, Lipa, Malolos, Naga, Sta. Rosa, and Taytay.

However, Lobien noted that power outages due to unmet demand for electricity have dampened their interest in a number of these cities.

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