IT-BPM sector set to gain from Asean integration

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THE fast-growing information technology-business processing management (IT-BPM) sector in the country will benefit the most from the upcoming Association of Southeast Asian Nations economic integration in 2015.

Jose Mari Mercado, president and chief executive of the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP), said that the upcoming 2015 Asean Economic Community (AEC) will give the sector a big boost because a lot of businesses in the industry “will flow” to the Philippines.

“Usually, if you look at the pattern of integration . . . the tendency is that the business goes to the country that has the biggest and the most experienced. So when it comes to IT-BPM space, we are the biggest in Asean so the tendency is [that]more of the businesses will flow this way,” Mercado said in a chance interview.

He said that with the influx of IT-BPM firms and companies in the country, the industry would now acquire talents in different languages in the region, which remains one of the major challenges of Philippine IT-BPM firms at present.


“I actually see it as an advantage because one of the bigger challenges in the Philippines is finding language support for Asean languages” such as Vietnamese, Thai and Laotian, the IBPAP chief said, adding that he sees no disadvantages for the industry from the upcoming Asean integration next year.

“It is easier for us to bring in these people because the borders are down, [and]we can bring them in. For our industry in particular, I think it is a benefit . . . There will be more opportunities to expand our business further,” Mercado added.

Mercado said that the IT-BPM industry has more advantages and no disadvantage compared to other sectors that are being pushed for improvement, particularly manufacturing and agriculture which are currently faced with challenges as the regional integration approaches.

Earlier, TDS Global Solutions president and chief executive Jon Kaplan said that the IT-BPM industry is set to surpass the remittances sector in contributing to the country’s gross domestic product in terms of raising the services sector’s contribution to the economy.

Kaplan said the IT-BPM space is growing faster than the remittances sector, which he attributes to the robust growth of the healthcare sector.

The IT-BPM industry primarily offers technical assistance through the voice and non-voice sector, as well as in healthcare, gaming and animation sectors.

Both the remittances and IT-BPM sectors have the same $25-billion revenue target by 2016, but the latter is growing faster. Revenue from this sector rose 17 percent to $15.5 billion in 2013, whereas remittances grew by a slower 6.4 percent last year to $22.8 billion.

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