Iloilo reenters Tholon’s int’l BPO hubs Top 100

Photo shows two of the new BPO (business process outsourcing) towers that have risen inside Megaworld’s Iloilo Business Park. ILOILO BUSINESS PARK

ILOILO City – After being snubbed from the Tholons Top 100 “super cities” for outsourcing in 2017, Iloilo City has reemerged in the international competitiveness rankings at No. 92, amid the city’s efforts to innovate the local business process outsourcing (BPO) industry and a rise in infrastructure.

According to the Tholons Services Globalization Index (TSGI) 2018 released on Monday, Iloilo has reentered the international standings for BPO destinations, as other Philippine hubs gain ground and slide up the list.

This 2018, six major Philippine cities have been included in the Tholons Top 100  – with Manila ranking the highest at 2nd place worldwide, along with Cebu City (11th), Davao City (75th), Sta. Rosa, Laguna (87st), and Bacolod (89th). Manila has regained its 2nd position from last year’s when it slipped to 4th position.

According to a report by the Philippine News Agency, currently around 21,000 Ilonggos are employed in the BPO industry.


After claiming the 90th spot in 2016, Iloilo City lost its position in the Tholons Top 100 “super cities” for outsourcing in 2017, attributed by local government officials to “a lack of innovation” in the local BPO sector.

Aiming to bolster the city as the “next Silicon Valley” and set the foundation to become among the most competitive Information Technology (IT) hubs in Asia, the Iloilo City government launched its “Ilovation” campaign this past year.

The portmanteau of Iloilo and innovation, “Ilovation” sought to bring together Ilonggo tech experts, web developers, animators, robotics experts, and those involved in startup ventures to build a community of local innovators.

Tholons cites the Philippines as among the “digital nation” leaders in the world, second only to India in its rankings.

“The Philippines has been the undisputed leader in customer service [and] BPOs, [being] home to several major multinational corporations,” the report reads. “The city of Manila has become the focus of operations for various industries and has long challenged Bangalore, Mumbai and taken the lead in business process management.”


In its provincial property report, real estate consulting firm Colliers International noted that “the Iloilo office market is ripe for growth [especially in the BPO sector].”

While Manila is seeing a gradual slowdown in investments from business process outsourcing firms, Iloilo City remains poised for further growth and development in the sector – as more companies look to the provinces for office space and manpower, reflecting the industry’s move to the less congested countryside.

“The Iloilo office market has the foundations in place to cater to the growing BPO industry outside of Metro Manila,” said Dinbo Macaranas, senior research manager of Colliers International, in the bi-annual report. “The government thrust to promote the province as a major investment hub in the Visayas, coupled with the planned projects of the country’s major developers, provides a positive outlook for Iloilo.”

Megaworld, Ayala Land, SM Prime, and Robinsons Land have all entered the Iloilo office market beginning 2007 and focused developments in Mandurriao. Companies such as iQor, WNS, Nearsol, and Yazaki-Philippine EDS Technoserve took-up spaces in 2016 and started operations in 2017.

“Colliers believes that demand for BPO space will likely continue given the aggressive promotion being undertaken by the local government as it aims to become a premier SMART (Service, Manufacturing, Agri-business, Arts and culture, Research and technology and Tourism) city of excellence,” added the research report.

Tholons is a leading full-service strategic advisory firm for global outsourcing and investments. In this year’s report, they considered innovation, workforce and skills, infrastructure and cost, risk and quality of life, and business catalysts as metrics for the research.

Among the metrics used by Tholons for its TSGI study this year are “Talent, Skills and Quality; Cost; Infrastructure; Risk & Quality of Life; Business Catalyst; and Digital & Innovation.”/PN


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