In a latest study on the availability of office spaces in Manila, it is forecasted that the prime business locations in the country are on the brink of shortage. The Philippines has a very attractive investment landscape primarily because of the quality of its labor workforce. The thriving Information Technology and Business Process Management (IT-BPM) sector is expected to demand more office space in the coming years.
In a recent IBPAP General Membership Meeting held in Makati, Leechiu Property Consultants (LPC) CEO, Mr. David Leechiu shared their findings on the next business hubs in the Philippines. Different strategic locations were named which are considered the next wave cities.
Choosing these key locations is based on infrastructure, accessibility, talent demographics, business environment and cost. Let’s give these cities a closer look.
The Summer Capital is also the main business hub up north. Its business district is divided into two parts: the lower and upper session roads. Big names in the IT-BPM industry have set up shop in the Baguio City Economic Zone (BCEZ).
The illustrious tourism industry of Baguio contributed immensely to the wealth of the city. Moreover, with the top caliber educational institutions present in the area, it is also an excellent source for talent and quality manpower.
Cagayan De Oro City
Hailed as the Philippines’ second most competitive city, CDO has an emerging central business district and lifestyle center. It boasts of world-class amenities that are ready to house the IT-BPM Industry. CDO’s attractiveness is further boosted by the low cost of doing business through LGU tax incentives, and low rental and wage rates. Being part of the biggest island of the country, the city can tap into its more than sufficient skilled workforce and talents.
The city has the cheapest power rates among the top ten next wave cities. It is the regional center, logistics, and business hub of northern Mindanao.
Best known for bangus (milkfish), Dagupan City is the business district of the province of Pangasinan. Prestigious universities are located here making it another viable source to harness talents and manpower. Roughly around 20% of its 3,723 hectares is dedicated for commercial and industrial utilization.
The relaxed atmosphere of the city provides a serene approach to the otherwise challenging requirements of the IT-BPM Industry. More industrial zones are currently being built through the initiative of its local government.
In terms of population and land area, Dasmariñas is the largest city in the province of Cavite. Its proximity to Manila makes it a favorable alternative from the congestion of Manila. Being at the crossroads of development in southern Manila, Dasmariñas is a business city.
The city is ranked first in terms of availability of utilities based on the Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index (CMCI). Its groundwork projects comprising major road construction and widening intensify the town’s practical role as one of the industrial and university centers of Cavite.
Jose Rizal nicknamed this place as the city of gentle people. A city by the bay, the area is conductive of learning due to its calm environment and is considered as a major business hub in Negros Oriental. Reputable universities can be found here, making its talent pool one of the best.
As its neighboring province of Cebu is starting to cramp up with flourishing industries, Dumaguete is set to attract the limelight. It currently has a diversified share of the IT-BPM industry ranging from call centers, medical transcription, to architectural outsourcing. It currently has six PEZA-accredited IT Parks and buildings.
Lipa City’s geographical location makes it a low-risk area for natural disasters being surrounded by two major mountains. It is fast emerging as a key city in the province of Batangas, becoming a major institutional/administrative center, medical center, commercial center, and financial center.
The city is being transformed from fundamentally agricultural to a highly urbanizing area. A significant portion of the agricultural land area of the city has been converted to residential subdivisions, industrial area with the establishment of LIMA Technology Center. Recently, the incursion of the IT-BPM firms such as call centers have contributed much to the growth of the local economy. It ranked 6th out of 10 in the Top 10 next wave cities of 2010 by the Commission of Information and Communication Technology (ICCT).
As with Dasmariñas City, the City of Malolos is fast becoming industrialized due to its contiguity to Metro Manila. Many corporations put up industrial plants and sites, and commercial and banking institutions in strategic places in the city. Malolos also serves as the Banking Capital of Bulacan aside from it being proclaimed as one of the centers of education in Central Luzon region of the Philippines.
Malolos City is now one of the commercial hubs in central Luzon, being a promising investment city many projects are presently rising. It ranks 4th in terms of cost of living according to the CMCI.
Naga has two major business districts but most notable is CBD 2 where an industrial and technological park houses several IT-BPM headquarters. Though comparably larger, the second central business district also is the location of the delivery and resting point of trade goods from Legazpi, Sorsogon City, Masbate City, and Catanduanes.
Naga City was named as one of the top places to institute IT-BPM operations in the Philippines. The city presently has three IT parks—the Naga City IT Park, the Camarines Sur Industrial and Technological Park, and the Naga City Technology Center. These places are all vastly conducive for outsourcing businesses as well as trades that do not necessitate transportation.
Sta. Rosa City, Laguna
Santa Rosa is the foremost city and hub of southern Luzon. It is dubbed as the Makati of the south in terms of economic activity. The city is considered as the richest city in the region in terms of annual income as reported by 2013 COA AFR report. It has surpassed the incomes of Calamba City and Batangas City with an estimated income of 2.3 billion pesos.
The city has an 11-hectare development and is considered as the future home of corporate establishments. Its mixed-use expansions make Santa Rosa Business Park ideal for the IT-BPM Industry. It is only 350 meters away from the Tagaytay-Balibago road and its park-like surroundings make it stand out from other business centers.
About twelve kilometers away from the nearest business district - Ortigas Center, this booming part of Rizal is ranked second overall in the CMCI rankings. Originally known for its flourishing garment and woodwork industries, Taytay is at the forefront of the province of Rizal in terms of geographic advantage. The municipality is connected through the major highways, Ortigas Ave and the C6 road.
Rizal is known to contribute a striking percentage of talent to the different business hubs in the metro. Establishing an economic zone in Taytay will mean less traffic congestion and a better option for Rizaleños.
Corporate giants are investing in the municipality which was initiated by the establishment of a prominent shopping mall. They have expanded their business portfolio in Taytay citing reasons of economic feasibility, resilient internal market and convenience. In 2012, the town was ranked second after Cainta in the Philippines for the highest income.
Industry players are now tapping these locations to sustain their growth. These next wave cities are seen with great potential and are expected to exponentially develop over the next few years.