August 26, 2014 | Sharon Cheong
Because you need to be a Filipino citizen or have a partner (whether it's a business partnership or marriage to a Filipino/Filipina) to own business and land in the Philippines, one could say that foreign investments don't happen automatically in the self-dubbed Pearl of the Orient. It's either your local partner is a co-owner of a company and realty within "Pilipinas" or you yourself need to be a naturalized Filipino citizen to be able to legally own something for yourself. As for the issue of building a startup in the Philippines, choosing a virtual office provider and having virtual office solutions appear to be the more commonsensical route to take for a foreigner.
What to Look for in Terms of Philippine Virtual Office Services
The first thing you need to look for in terms of Philippine-based virtual office services is its reliability in Philippine-based Internet. Will it run smoothly under the telecommunication companies of PLDT, Globe, Smart, or Sky Cable (the primary providers of Internet in the Philippines)? If not, then you've got a problem. You should avail of experienced companies like Servcorp to give you offices of your own without necessarily "owning" any realty in the country. You can rent serviced offices(fully furnished offices-for-rent that even have their own custodians and tech support) and/or manage your entire company with an Internet-accessible virtual office package.
A good, dependable virtual office typically contains an online receptionist (fully automatic, with a prerecorded voice speaking impeccable English or Tagalog), an Internet-based facsimile machine program (it turns your laptop or desktop and printer into a fax machine, such that it can send faxes to actual fax machines as well as virtual fax machines), VoIP telephony (voice-over IP, which allows your Internet connection to receive and send calls, voicemails, and so forth anywhere in the world as long as you have the number), and a gamut of other Internet-based telecommunication services (from email to live chat as well as teleconferencing).
The Impact of the Internet on Your Business
The Internet isn't a fancy novelty any longer. It's changing lives and shaping enterprises. It's now possible to not only sell things through the Internet with ecommerce and you can even have an Internet-based job for a whole number of fields (usually in Information Technology, SEO, or web design). Even if your would-be Philippine business isn't necessarilyInternet-based, you'll still probably have to include some aspect of cyberspace into it (whether it's an official website for customers to visit or a Facebook fan page). The fact of the matter is that it's one of the most affordable ways to establish your Philippine startup.
You don't have to establish your branches in the hands of business partners; you can still have direct control of your Philippine startup aside from cooperation with expatriates that you have to send all the way to the country to deal with daily operations. A virtual office is a good place to start when it comes to getting a feel of the kind of market there is in this land. You might even be able to familiarize yourself and your staff with local traditions and lore for the sake of the localization of your products without having to pay an arm and a leg for capital because everything in your so-called office has been virtualized, so to speak.
Do you wish to have a small-to-medium business in the Philippines? Servcorp is here to assist you. Its virtual office and corporate registration offerings makes it one of the most trusted organizations out there when it comes to building Philippine-basedcompanies.