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8 reasons investors should choose the Philippines


May 18, 2023

The Philippines has plenty of things going for it that make it an increasingly popular investment destination among international enterprises. In the 2022 edition of the Best Countries to Invest In list by U.S. News, the Philippines ranked 49th among major global economies. The media outlet noted that the ranking draws from the results of a global perceptions-based survey among 4,500 business decision-makers.

Indeed, the future looks bright for the country when it comes to being a preferred investment destination in Asia. Below are just some of the most compelling reasons why global businesses should invest in the Philippines.

1.) All-in-one industrial-anchored mixed-use estates

The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) was set up by the national government in the 1990s to oversee special economic zones, areas with unique legal frameworks specifically set up to attract and retain foreign direct investments. Maximizing the opportunities presented by these PEZA zones, Aboitiz InfraCapital is leading the development of smart and sustainable economic estates in key locations across the country. 

Economic estates and other similar projects are highly optimized to provide businesses with a seamless investment experience. They feature PEZA zones or are full PEZA zones themselves, offering unique ownership as well as regulatory and tax benefits to foreign investors. However, the Aboitiz InfraCapital Economic Estates go a step further in providing state-of-the-art utilities, services, and amenities that make it possible to do business safely, efficiently, and cost-effectively. 

2.) Geographic location

The Philippines’ location puts it within easy reach of many of the world’s major financial hubs. From any of its international airports, destinations such as Singapore, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Seoul, and Tokyo are accessible within just a few hours, and connecting flights to destinations further afield are easily accessible. 

Its location on the First Island Chain also puts its excellent deepwater ports within a very short distance from the world’s major shipping lanes, giving it an enviable logistics advantage. Its excellent location, coupled with its other advantages, has attracted shipbuilders from all over the world, most notably at developments like the West Cebu Estate (WCE), a 540-hectare investment in Balamban, Cebu, which is today known as the Shipbuilding Capital of the Philippines.

3.) Dedicated and highly skilled workers

The Filipino labor force is known for being hard-working, empathetic, and astute. Consider that, for a developing country, the Philippines scores very high on the Human Development Index, outdoing many other countries with more advanced and much larger economies. The labor force not only has good technical skills, but it also has the soft skills that really matter in most industries. 

Most Filipinos also have at least a working mastery of the English language, which is highly advantageous given English’s status as an international lingua franca. Moreover, Filipinos’ above-average understanding of international culture makes it straightforward for most investors to easily communicate with virtually any Filipino they meet, which often makes doing business here a surprisingly familiar experience.

Aside from relative mastery of the English language, the Philippines also produces a significant number of high-quality graduates in numerous technical and creative fields. If there’s a job that needs to be done, finding qualified people to do it will be relatively straightforward.

4.) Reasonable living costs

Anyone who wants their capital to go further should consider the Philippines. The low cost of living makes the country’s smaller cities a viable place for frugal investors to stretch their budgets. Though the capital region of Metro Manila may have a cost of living comparable to many of the world’s megacities, smaller regional cities tend to score higher in terms of livability while being much more affordable to live in.

5.) Strong economic fundamentals

The Philippines has posted continuous economic growth in the past two decades, with only a few slight hiccups due to global events like the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, the Great Recession, and the COVID-19 pandemic. In the post-pandemic era, the country is expected to bounce back strong, as it has drastically improved its digital infrastructure and increased e-commerce participation, things that the Asian Development Bank foresees will fuel post-pandemic growth.

6.) An effective and growing infrastructure network

Speaking of infrastructure, the country has been heavily investing in big-ticket infrastructure projects in the last few years. These new infrastructure projects, which include railways, airports, a subway system in Metro Manila, and improved road networks, are expected to create faster, more efficient labor and supply chains, with investors being among the big winners. 

The focus on the development of sustainable energy and water supply infrastructure in the provinces is also expected to raise the quality of life while creating more opportunities for investment in the near future.

7.) Extremely diverse opportunities

The Philippines is a surprisingly large country, with an economic portfolio as diverse as its people. Years of diversification have led to the maturation of different industries, including agriculture, electronics manufacture and export, and natural resource extraction. Additionally, in the post-pandemic world, there is likely to be a resurgence in tourism, including medical tourism. All of these make the country’s economy very resilient to shocks caused by slowdowns in particular sectors of the global economy.

8.) Business-friendly policies

Over the past few decades, the Philippine government has taken great pains to attract foreign direct investments, even going as far as creating multiple tax breaks and ownership incentives specifically for this purpose. Continuous efforts to reduce red tape and corruption have also borne some fruit, creating numerous investment opportunities even outside of the aforementioned PEZA zones. In particular, the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act or CREATE law, which became effective in April 2021, addressed many of the concerns of both foreign and domestic investors, reducing the corporate income tax from 30% to 25% and streamlining investment incentives.

Thanks to efforts by the present and past administrations, as well as forward-thinking private sector partners like Aboitiz InfraCapital, the Philippines, is continually improving in ways that make it more attractive to FDIs and other types of investment. Hopefully, you’ll make the right decision and choose the Philippines as your next place to set up shop.

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