BPO industry eyes 'next wave' cities for expansion

By Lois Calderon, ABS-CBN News Channel

Posted at Mar 15 2012 05:33 PM | Updated as of Mar 16 2012 03:01 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The country's largest business process outsourcing group wants to double jobs in the sector to 1.3 million in the next 5 years, a third of which will be in cities outside Metro Manila.

The government agrees, saying areas away from Manila are becoming increasingly attractive to foreign BPO investors, given rising labor costs in Manila and other key Asian cities.

A joint study by the Business Processing Association of the Philippines and the Department of Science and Technology showed Davao City, Sta. Rosa in Laguna and Bacolod City as the top 3 BPO locations among 34 domestic locations.

The supply of talent was the main determinant for a location's suitability for hosting IT-BPO operations. These cities, which are located in the provinces, are seen to ease the congestion in well-established IT-BPO hubs.

"We're making inroads in making sure that we grow the next wave cities," Benedict Hernandez, CEO of BPAP, said. "What took us ten years to build, we can create in 5 years. That's 1.3 million jobs."

The study identified the 10 "Next Wave BPO cities" as follows:

1. Davao City
2. Sta. Rosa, Laguna
3. Bacolod
4. Iloilo
5. Metro Cavite
6. Lipa, Batangas
7. Cagayan de Oro
8. Malolos, Bulacan
9. Baguio City
10. Dumaguete, Negros Oriental