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Successful Businesses in the Philippines

April 10, 2014 | Valerie Wong

The Filipinos are noted for their resiliency and toughness in the face of all types of hardships and calamities; be it in the face of revolutions, typhoons, earthquakes, epidemics and financial lack.

Filipinos generally have a happy and positive outlook in life. When it comes to business (or a means of livelihood), they are commonly tenacious and ingenious. Take a look on the “jeepney”. It is a public utility vehicle endemic in the Philippines.  This world-famous public transport stemmed from the left-over U.S. Military jeeps after World War II. Give a Filipino a lemon and he would most likely come up with a lemonade stand for business. The business might take time to kick-off, but trust a Pinoy's indefatigable spirit to keep on.

Top 8 Largest Companies in the Philippines

As of 2013, the top 8 largest companies in the Philippines are 100% owned by Filipinos. These corporations are San Miguel,  a food and beverage group of companies;  SM Investments, retail, mall management, banking, tourism and real estate company;  PLDT, telecommunications;  BPI, financial and banking institution;  MERALCO, utilities;  Aboitiz Equity Ventures, transportation, food, financial services and power; Metrobank, banking and financial institution;  Ayala, retail, real estate,  banking, telecommunication,  IT,  electronics, energy and water infrastructure.

One common factor of these companies is that they have been in business for more than 50 years, with some dating back to the late 19th century.  The founders of these companies had the vision to address the “need” of the Filipinos and provide the services or products to serve their particular needs.

Other notable Filipino-owned corporations that have gone international are Max's Restaurant, Jollibee Fast Food, Goldilocks and Red Ribbon bakeshops.

Why Do Business in the Philippines?

A global economic recession similar to what happened in 2008 is a possible reality, what with the debt problems of European countries and the rather weak U.S. economy.  Global investors have a greater chance of a quick ROI if they invest in the Philippines. Why?

First, the country's location is strategic as it is right in the middle of Southeast Asian nations such as Indonesia, Singapore, India and China.  The Philippine's GDP increased by 1.5% in the last quarter of 2013 and is deemed one of the highest amongst its ASEAN neighbors.

The country's abundant resources (marine, mineral, agricultural) present endless possibilities for foreign investors. 

Perhaps the country's greatest resource is its people. Filipinos are highly educated, proficient in English and skilled in their field of expertise. They are dependable and exhibit dedication to their work.

Small and Medium Enterprises

The SME sector comprises 99.6% of all enterprises operated in the Philippines. The Philippine government, spearheaded by the National SME Development Plan, strongly supports the SME sector. It is the government's hope to help micro and small corporations achieve a higher level of value-added capabilities and productivity of a bigger and more successful enterprise. The various agencies involved in this endeavor are the Bureau of Small and Medium Enterprises Development (BSMED), the Bureau of Domestic Trade Promotion (BDTP), Philippine International Trading Corporation (PITC), Small Business Guarantee Finance Corporation (SBGFC) to name a few.

These enterprises play a major role in the economic development of the country as they are the main contributors in the creation of more job opportunities, decentralization of various industries, rural development and industrialization, fair distribution of income, FOREX earnings and more.  SMEs provide the Philippine economy with a continuous and possibly unending supply of skills and ideas for “friendly” competition amongst different enterprises.

Top Business Opportunities for 2014

There seems to be a trending rise in the tourism, services and food industries in the Philippines in 2014.  

The country is a tourist destination popular the world over because of its pristine beaches and diverse and beautiful spots.  There are a lot of foreign investors who are in the tourism industry, be it in the form of retail shops, restaurants and hotels.  It is worth knowing that medical and wellness tourism is also thriving in the country.

The Filipinos enjoy their food. The people are open to various cuisines and will try everything once. Both local and international food franchises thrive in the country, be it in the form of large scale corporations such as McDonald's or a food cart selling fresh coconut juice. For this year, the Filipinos' growing fondness for organic food is definitely on the rise. It might be a good time to invest in restaurants and retail shops offering organic and healthier food options. On the side, fast food restaurants are experiencing lower sales due to the local's developing preference for fine dining experience.

Home services such as spa, massage, online retail selling and other home-to-home services are also flourishing.  More and more foreign investors are looking into the export of Philippine commodities and products, and in investing or partnering with local businesses.

The time is ripe for a profitable investment in the Philippines. Servcorp is the right company to help you understand and facilitate your future asset and speculation in the Philippines.