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Why the Philippines Is the #1 Source for Tech Startups & Talent
« on: October 06, 2015, 07:18:58 PM »
http://www.investopedia.com/
By Brett Relander | October 05, 2015


When most people think of the Philippines, what often comes to mind is endless stretches of tropical beaches and military installations left over from World War II. In the last few years, however, the Southeast Asian country has been working diligently to re-invent itself, and that work has paid off. The Philippines is rapidly gaining notoriety as a leading source of tech startups and talent.

FROM MILITARY TO MODERN

At the heart of the country's tech scene is Bonifacio Global City, a bustling and thoroughly modern financial district replete with luxury condos, malls and skyscrapers. The story was very different fifteen years ago when it was a military base still filled with barracks constructed during World War II. Following an aggressive program aimed at privatizing and converting Fort Bonifacio, the city now looks like any other major financial hub in the world.

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Re: Why the Philippines Is the #1 Source for Tech Startups & Talent
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2015, 07:20:12 PM »
THE STUFF OF LEGENDS

The Philippines has also become something of a legend when it comes to churning out tech startups that rapidly reach the billion-dollar value mark and even beyond. Known as unicorns, these wildly successful startups are becoming almost commonplace in the Philippines. So far this year, the country has produced 30 such startups. (For more, see 3 Startups Worth More Than a Billion.)

Much of that growth is being driven by the country's strengthening economy. At the moment, the Philippines has the second-fastest growing economy in the world. Due to its massive business process outsourcing industry, which employs more than a million workers, the Philippines has developed an incredibly strong tech services industry. Some of the industry’s fastest growing sectors are those employing advanced skills, such as data analytics and mobile app development.

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Re: Why the Philippines Is the #1 Source for Tech Startups & Talent
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2015, 07:20:51 PM »
A CHANGING MINDSET

Innovation runs rampant in the Philippines, and the country's tropical atmosphere has an enticing allure for tech startups looking for the ideal combination of flexibility, talent, and resources. Aside from the labor cost savings, the Philippines has quite a lot going for it, including a relatively young and highly educated workforce, as well as the fifth-largest English-speaking population in the world.

While companies looking to outsource often find they must first educate their workforce about American culture, this is not a problem in the Philippines as Filipinos are well acquainted with the American way of life. Each year, Filipino universities churn out tens of thousands of graduates specializing in engineering and technology; most graduates are highly skilled in app design and programming languages, ensuring a thoroughly capable workforce. Thanks to the flexibility of cloud computing and virtual access, companies around the world are now able to tap into this skilled workforce and an ideal pool of on-demand talent for emerging tech startups.

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Re: Why the Philippines Is the #1 Source for Tech Startups & Talent
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2015, 07:21:21 PM »
There has also been a shift in the mindset of much of the Filipino workforce, one that is now leading to tremendous innovation throughout the country. Whereas their parents may have been perfectly happy working in a call center, more and more young, educated Filipinos are increasingly willing to design and build their own products and, in the process, go head-to-head with tech firms from around the world.

In many ways, this is a shift in culture, but it is one that is benefiting the country's economy immensely as investors have proven to be increasingly willing to work with Filipino companies. Among the biggest stories is Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company. Last year, the Filipino telecom and IT company invested $445 million in Germany-based Rocket Internet to establish a strategic partnership aimed at the joint development of digital payment technologies for emerging markets.

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Re: Why the Philippines Is the #1 Source for Tech Startups & Talent
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2015, 07:22:13 PM »
STRADDLING TWO WORLDS

Investors have also been quick to pick up on the potential to transition more easily into new markets thanks to the Philippines' strategic position. As a gateway to the larger Southeast Asian market, the Philippines successfully occupies two worlds, existing within a thoroughly westernized market while maintaining a shared ethnicity with many of its neighbors. This has allowed the country to serve as a robust testing environment for a variety of products and services. Both Uber and Facebook Inc. (FB) have taken advantage of the opportunity, leveraging the Philippines’ familiarity with English to try out new products without translating them into another language. (For more, see Why Are Startups Going International?)

The Filipino population also has the necessary interest in tech to drive future innovations. In fact, according to Opera Software’s State of the Mobile Web report, the Philippines was found to be the world’s most active country on social media. According to the report, 86% of Opera Mini mobile browser page views in the Philippines are directed to social networking sites. Increased mobility is largely driving that trend, with more than half of the population using smartphones to access the Opera mobile browser. Filipinos are not just stopping with one device, either. Another study by Taiwanese advertising tech startup Appier found that 20.8% of multi-screen users in the Philippines use at least three devices.

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Re: Why the Philippines Is the #1 Source for Tech Startups & Talent
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2015, 07:23:09 PM »
GOVERNMENT-BACKED SUPPORT

Recognizing the potential offered by the tech market, the Filipino government has been quick to acknowledge the country's needs in that sector. During his opening remarks at the 2015 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo stated, "I have to admit, the government has lagged behind in its understanding and support for the [startup] sector. That's something we'd like to change going forward."

Later in the event, the government announced a partnership with accelerator IdeaSpace that will result in a national innovation center. The government went on to state that the center would include branches situated conveniently near universities. By positioning the center near universities, the hope is that the new program will encourage the growth of a startup ecosystem in the Philippines. The development of the center has been largely modeled after neighbor Singapore’s well-known innovation district, Block 71.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Where the Filipino tech startup industry will go in the future is almost anyone's guess. For the moment, this small nation appears to have what it takes to succeed and could even prove to be a model of its own for other emerging nations.



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