Manila, Cebu Up the List of Preferred BPO location in the World

Manila and the Cebu City again carved their name as among the top preferred outsourcing destinations in the world, ranking third and eighth in the list of emerging business process outsourcing (BPO) sites based on a study by investment advisory firm Tholons.

Manila's ranking improved by a notch from last year, an indication of the improving status of the country in terms of being a preferred BPO site around the world.

"Cebu is now ranked 8th in the Tholons Top 100 Outsourcing Destinations Report for 2013, which is a rank higher than in 2012," said Cebu Investment and Promotions Center (CIPC) Managing Director Joel Mari Yu.

"This means Cebu City continually displays its great competency in the global outsourcing industry," he said.

Yu added that the improvement is a "big thing" to celebrate in the face of challenges in manpower availability.

Apart from Cebu and Manila, Tholons cited five other cities in the Philippines – Davao, ranked No. 70; Sta. Rosa, Laguna, No. 84; Iloilo City, No. 93; Bacolod City, No. 94; and Baguio City, No. 99.

Cebu Educational Development Foundation for Information Technology Inc. (Cedf-it) Executive Director Jun Sa-a said Cebu deserves to be promoted in the 2013 Tholons list as it has proven it could scale and improve the quality of its manpower.

"This is a proof that the Philippines is giving India a serious challenge in this industry," Sa-a said.

Jerry Rapes, chief executive officer of Exist Global, shared the sentiment. He attributed Cebu's improved ranking to the hard work and collective effort of industry players, government and the academe.

"This is a validation that what we are doing is good but we should not just maintain that standing, we should move forward," Rapes said.

Availability and quality of workers were among the criteria in selecting the top outsourcing destinations. CIPC estimates that there are about 95,000 people employed in the BPO industry in Cebu.

It also said that the average of 24,000 college graduates produced every year, complemented by skilled young individuals who want to start their careers in the BPO industry, has helped Cebu strengthen its reputation as a BPO destination.

"The primary roadblock for Cebu to advance higher is the lack of qualified manpower," Yu said.

He admitted that while Cebu City has good infrastructure, demonstrated its capability in almost all IT spectrums, it still falls short in providing the industry with qualified IT/BPO workers.

Yu said that in 2012 alone, about 20,000 to 25,000 jobs were generated by new companies that set up businesses in Cebu.

"Cebu continues to have challenges to face before it can become the top business process outsourcing destination, especially because the competition in many surrounding areas of Asia is fierce. Cebu will have to work to continue to build its reputation as an outsourcing leader to make it to the top," Yu concluded (

Manila Bulletin 

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