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The Philippines as an emerging market

May 2013 | Servcorp

Favourable demographics and government initiatives have conspired to allow the Philippines to become one of the world's strongest new markets. As with any emerging market though, it's important to be cautious before you consider moving any of your operations there.

At surface level, the benefits of basing a forward thinking or tech business within the Philippines would seem to far outweigh the negatives.

With the highest number of SMS messages per head and the eighth largest number of Facebook users in the world, the island nation's suitability as a hub for tech development is well understood by those in the know.

However, in recent years the nation's business profile has risen considerably. Currently ranked as having the 33rd largest economy in the world, Goldman Sachs predict that the Philippines' economy will expand to such an extent that it'll be the world's 14th largest by 2050.

Why? Well, there are a variety of reasons. For one, there's the sheer size of the Philippines. The world's 12th most populated country, the nation is home to more than 100 million people.

It's not just about numbers though – at present the demographics of the country compare very favourably to many aging nations. Over 61% of the population is aged between 15 and 64, with the median age being only 22.

This younger demographic is particularly well suited to getting its head around new technologies, a fact that couldn't have been far from the minds of Google when it recently decided to launch its Free Zone service in the Philippines before doing so anywhere else.

It's impossible for a modern market to function without an efficient internet service. While the Philippines' island nature might have held it back somewhat in the past, a drive from the government to ensure that Filipinos aren't left behind online, coupled with further developments like cloud technology and the Google initiative above, mean the nation is now as well suited to conducting online business as anywhere else.

However, as with all emerging markets there is a degree of uncertainty attached to the Philippines. Economic stewardship needs to remain tight, and the recent investment in education across the country needs to remain constant if the country is to become all that it can.

Those currently based there will be well versed in the benefits the island nation can offer, however anyone that's looking for the chance to lay down roots in a market that's only going to become more prosperous over time would do well to consider it an option.

Investing in or basing operations there is a calculated risk, but it's one that looks like it'll pay dividends.