Because of its highly skilled labor force, consultative and customer service mind-set, government support & incentives, World-class English language aptitude, strong work ethic, affinity for U.S. culture, attractive location for U.S. expatriates, and its robust infrastructure, the Philippines is the prime choice for overseas outsourcing companies compared to other Asian countries.
Metro Manila is the political and fiscal hub of the Philippines, and predictably, the country has a Manila-centric economy, receiving a large portion of the government budget. More than 30% of country’s GDP is made here, making up for almost 50% of the growth in earnings. With more than 18,000 people per square kilometer, Manila has a dense population–more than 70 times the national density of 260, which means that companies should have more to choose from.
So why are overseas outsourcing companies setting up call centers in Cebu?
Since Manila is the political and economic hub of the Philippines it turns into a weakness of the city. Businesses don’t exactly find Manila’s media image tempting. Businesses put up their call centers in Cebu to keep away from the economic and political chaos that is Manila. The government is conscious of this and has put up a presence in Cebu with the Malacañang Palace of Cebu, shifting some of its political/economic power outside Manila. Despite having a smaller population density, Cebu province, with its 6 cities, had overall population of 3.1, the biggest among the country’s 79 provinces.
Moreover, Metro Manila has one of the most polluted air in the country at 66 micrograms of particles per cubic meter compared to Cebu City’s 45.Traffic jams is also another thing that the city is notorious for. A 20 minute ride in Cebu will easily go an hour or more in Manila, predominantly at rush hour.
But why are the call centers in Cebu?
That question will be addressed by the Thorton study. Cebu surfaced with top results for the Top 50 Emerging Global Outsourcing Cities list. The record is an evaluation of Global Outsourcing settings according to their competence as service delivery centers. Cebu City received the highest over-all total marks on infrastructure, degree & superiority of workers (including academics), risk profile, business mechanisms, expenditures, and quality of life.
There were 17 call centers or BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) firms in Cebu at the start of 2008. The city’s strong points are in key processes such as customer service, finance and accounting and HR services. It acquired top marks due to its high literacy rate (97%), strong infrastructure and excellent quality of living, which translates to better workers and lower staff turnover. All of factors creates for a prosperous location for call centers in Cebu.
To add to the Thorton study, the magazine of the Financial Times Group called Finance Direct Investment (FDI), placed Cebu City in its top 8 of its list of 10 Asian Cities of the future. Moreover, the same magazine also ranked Cebu City seventh in the best quality of life category, fourth in the list of 10 most cost-effective cities, and second in development and promotion, next only to Singapore.