Online gambling seen overtaking BPO as top office space consumer in PH

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The Chinese-fuelled online gambling industry is forecast to overtake the information technology-business process outsourcing (IT-BPO) as the largest consumer of office spaces this year, according to a global real services firm.

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In a media briefing on Wednesday, July 10, Leechiu Property Consultants (LPC) chief executive officer David Leechiu said the Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGO) industry is projected to take up 450,000 square meters (sqm) of office space by the end of 2019, which will be ”super very close” with that of the IT-BPO firms.

Leechiu said as of the first half of 2019, the IT-BPO industry still led the demand in Metro Manila with 244,000 sqm as against the POGO take-up of 242,000 sqm.

“But we expect the POGO industry to be the biggest demand driver by year-end due to its faster site selection process and the effect of the recent moratorium on PEZA (Philippine Economic Zone Authority) applications in Metro Manila,” he said.

“For the first time in 19 years, the BPO sector is going to be number two,” he added.

Leechiu said the POGO industry is still heavily centered in the Manila Bay area, while some have started penetrating Alabang, Makati, and Quezon City.

He noted that more offshore gaming firms are expected to locate in Ortigas, Pasig, and Mandaluyong areas due to low availability of office spaces in Alabang and Manila Bay areas.

Leechiu said the presence of these POGOs has been growing as more firms prefer to locate in the country.

“Our openness to their industry. Just like the BPO sector, the Chinese, just like the Americans and the Europeans, have discovered that the work ethic of the Filipinos is very good so they are coming here for that. Second, the country, the city, has become so developed, they liked what they see in the Philippines,” he said.

Leechiu further noted the historically high in demand for office space in the Philippines.

“As early as 2018, with 1.2 square meters consumed, Metro Manila is the fourth largest market in the world after Shanghai, Beijing and Tokyo. 1.2 million sqm is a very large number, very few countries, cities in the world even aspire for those numbers,” he added.

Leechiu said about 70 percent of the leasing activities usually happen in the last five months of the year.

“So, I’m very excited to see the next two quarters, the rest of the year, because there is a good chance, we could breach the 1.2 million sqm which will possibly can make Metro Manila the third largest office market in the world. We have a chance of doing that, there are no guarantees but the picture looks really good,” he said. — Leslie Gatpolintan (PNA)

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