Cebu, Davao, Dumaguete make mark in global list of BPO destinations

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The Philippines continues to shine in the global outsourcing scene as the country?s ?Next-Wave Cities? posted improvements in the latest list of top global BPO destinations released by consulting firm Tholons International.

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?There are now nine Philippine Cities on the list. Welcome Dumaguete City to the Top 100 List! Almost all of the cities went up in their rankings,? declared Wilfredo ?Jun? Sa-a Jr., the president of the National ICT Confederation of the Philippine (NICP).

Except for Manila which retained its second-place spot after top-ranked Bangalore in India, the rest of the Philippine cities included in last year?s list all improved their rankings.

Leading the pack is Davao City, which moved up by three notches from 69th place in 2015 to 66th for this year. All the other Philippine cities rose by one spot — Cebu City (from 8th to 7th), Sta Rosa (from 82 to 81), Bacolod (from 86 to 85), Iloilo (91 to 90), Baguio (from 95 to 94), Metro Clark (98 to 97)

Dumaguete City, a newcomer to the list, also made one of biggest leaps by booking 93rd place from being ranked outside of the top 100.

Lawyer Jocelle Batapa-Sigue, chair of Visayas ICT Cluster Organization (Victor) of the NICP, said the entry of Dumaguete to the list and the improvement of Bacolod is a ?good start? for the newly created Negros Island Region (NIR) where both cities are part of.

?Majority of the ICT Councils under NICP are hoping that the DICT (Department of ICT) bill will soon be a law. This is one of the major differentiators of Philippines and India which holds the number one spot for many years, India has a very active Ministry for ICT,? said Batapa-Sigue, a councilor of Bacolod City.

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Tholons research manager Manuel Ravago, in an email message to NICP?s Sa-a, quoted the report which said that one of the important shifts in the Asia pacific region in this year?s list was the rise of Cebu City, which moved from 8th to 7th spot.

?A continuously improving infrastructure ? as of Q1 of 2015, the PEZA counts a combined 27 IT Centers and IT Parks to be operating in Cebu — and an enlarging talent pool that draws diverse talent from the Southern archipelago, has allowed the city?s IT-BPM sector to sustain recent developmental gains,? the report stressed.

The province of Cebu, it said, is likewise considered the educational hub of Central and Southern Philippines, with the Central Visayas Region counting 138 higher education institutions (public and private) in its fold, reaching almost 260,000 undergraduate enrollees for the academic year of 2013-2014.

?Today, Cebu City?s local IT-BPM industry is a healthy mix of services, cutting across all three major service lines (ITO, KPO, BPO). The variety of process groups being fulfilled in the city also mirror the diverse talent pool available to the location (i.e. software development, FAO, medical transcription, and contact support services, among others).

?Large multinationals such as JPMorgan Chase, Aegis, Accenture, Teletech, IBM and Convergys, among many others, have all established delivery centers across Cebu City?s numerous IT Parks and Centers,? the report observed.

Tholons said it remains bullish on the trajectory and long-term potential of Cebu City as a global services outsourcing destination.

?[T]here is opportunity for Cebu City to capitalize on the prevailing weakness of global competition. Economic turmoil in several of Latin America?s key economic markets for example, has temporarily dulled the region?s luster, pushing large service buyers/providers to re-focus activities on proven locations which can provide both scale and better long-term sustainability,? the analyst firm said.

Tholons said the rash of global geo-political incidents should also compel service buyers and providers to favor ?safer service delivery havens? such as Manila, Cebu City, and the host of established delivery locations in India.

The analyst firm said Cebu still has a lot of potential as Tholons holds the opinion that Cebu City has not been “marketed enough” (i.e. industry identity remains somewhat BPO-centric) in the global services outsourcing marketplace.

?Though this latter observation may not necessarily be a problem inherent of Cebu City, but more so a characteristic of the Philippines IT-BPM industry in general ? it nonetheless reflects the tremendous upside and potential for the location,? it concluded.

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