Outsourcing To The Philippines

We're inside a contact center, one of many in the Phillippines. This is run by Dell, an American technology company that scouted Asia for business locations. According to Michael Garrison of Dell, "We came to the Phillippines specifically for growth because of the availability of talent and because of the great communications skills available here. We're serving U.S. Customers out of our site here."

Personnel in these call centers come mostly from the country's large English-trained, college-educated workforce. "The empathy, the real ability to connect with the American consumer is something that is very unique in the Phillippines, so it's been a great base for us to talk to American customers," says Garrison.

It's not all voice services; this firm does that and some back office operations. Maulik Parekh, a manager, says "A lot of it is credit card verification, loan processing for financial institutions. We also do a lot of back office work for one of the major airlines in the U.S."

Contact centers and back office operations. These are part of Business Process Outsourcing. It's a surging industry in the Philippines. John Forbes, of the American Chamber of Commerce, says "It's really quite spectacular. It's the fastest growing sector in the Philippine economy in terms of percentage growth."

Most of the foreign firms in the outsourcing business here are American. Industry spokesman Mitch Locsin notes their operations are complemented by the country's strong cultural ties with the United Sates.

"We are very U.S. centric," says Locsin. "We have the same general accepted accounting principles, we have the same engineering standards, the same laws, the same medical standards, so basically we have a very strong affinity with the U.S."

Businessmen say outsourcing can become a ten billion dollar industry here by 2010. They see the Philippines developing as one of the major destinations in Asia for global outsourcing, from customer service to software development.
By Gaby Tabunar