SE Asia remains ‘beacon of growth’
The Philippines stood resilient amidst economic setbacks around the globe according to SM Investments Corp. vice chairperson Teresita Sy-Coson.
Speaking before the recent Asian Financial Forum held in Hong Kong, Sy-Coson said a “slowdown in the developed economies is unlikely to hold back the development of the country in a major way. Our strong domestic private consumption will help insulate the country from extreme shocks and volatility.”
SM’s retail empire gains from healthy private consumption. Sy-Coson said the Philippines sustained growth of six to seven percent in the past three years despite challenges in leading global economies, supported by continuous expansion in business process outsourcing (BPO) sector, robust overseas Filipino workers’ (OFW) remittances, and rapid urbanization of the countryside.
Sy-Coson said Southeast Asia will continue to be the “beacon of growth” that will give opportunities for emerging economies like the Philippines.
By 2016, the BPO sector is expected to bring in $25 billion revenues while OFW remittances are seen to hit $24 billion—both of which will have multiplier effects of fueling consumption growth and boosting property and tourism sectors.
Despite the slowdown in agricultural output and government spending, Sy-Coson said the Philippines economy remains robust supported by solid domestic demand.
She added ramping up of infrastructure spending will bring upsides such as the development of ports, toll roads, and mass transit systems will facilitate growth of peripheral industries.
Sy-Coson said SMIC is poised to take advantage of the opportunities to further grow and sustain its dominant spot in the country’s property, banking and retail segments.
The Philippines, she said, is the top choice for foreign direct investments (FDI) given the country’s relatively young and quality labor force, good educational system that caters to technology and research, and a strong service provider industry and orientation.
SMIC is the holding firm of the Sy family, having business interests in property (SM Prime Holdings Inc.), banking (BDO Unibank Inc.) and retail (SM Retail Inc.). It also has affiliates such as China Banking Corp. and casino and entertainment firms Belle Corp. and Premium Leisure Corp.