Hong Kong trade chief meets with local IT-BPM execs
Business Mirror
July 26, 2016

 THE Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) in Hong Kong and the Department of Trade and Industry’s Export Marketing Bureau recently arranged the visit of Willie Tan, investment promotion deputy head of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (HKETO), to meet with executives of the top 2 information technology-business Process management (IT-BPM) companies in the Philippines on June 30.

Through meetings, hketo assists persons or companies interested in establishing connections and strengthening ties with Hong Kong, and those investing in Hong Kong or in mainland China and other parts of Asia through Hong Kong.

Tan met with executives of Computer Aid Inc. (CAI)-Softech Advantage Inc. (STA) and Pointwest Technologies. CAI-STA is a joint venture between US-based Computer Aid Inc. and SoftTech Advantage Inc. It serves as an offshore delivery center of CAI-STA and other clients.

CAI-STA Philippines President Emma Teodoro requested Tan to look for market and partner/local distributor of IT-BPM services in Hong Kong, adding such expansion will be incorporated in the CAI-STA company action plan.  She said Tan could make referrals with executives of prospective partner private companies in Hong Kong.

On the downside, Teodoro mentioned the issue of high cost of wages and difficulty finding locations with lower rental fees in Hong Kong.  Tan mentioned the seven-year residency requirement before one can acquire permanent residency in Hong Kong.

CAI-STA was founded in 1981 to provide quality information services to companies of all sizes. The Filipino- and American-owned company develops a system that tracks the origins and locations of cigarettes and food products.  It is engaged with numerous Fortune 1000 companies and government agencies, having  expanded to Europe and Canada.  In 2007 CAI-STA launched a new Asia-Pacific business unit based in Sydney, Australia.

Next to meet Tan was JL Botor, manager of Healthcare BPM Practice of Pointwest Technologies. Pointwest is an award-winning global solutions company based out of Manila. It is recognized as one of the largest software development-outsourcing companies in the Philippines.

Botor said it is worth considering Hong Kong as a place of investment, also depending on the feasibility of company engagement. He will assign employees to research about and consider Hong Kong as a place of investment. He acknowledged the effort of Hong Kong Trade and Investment Office to help Philippine companies setup business in Hong Kong.

Botor told Tan Pointwest puts premium on ease of doing business, incentives for effort, power rates, cost of rental and distance to universities in setting up business.

The company is the largest Filipino IT-BPM company with 1,800 employees, 100 of whom are based in the US, and 800 programmers working in the country. It has gained market share in the US and Japanese markets.

Pointwest is 80-percent IT and 20-percent business-management company. It has regional operating headquarters in Singapore and has penetrated Japan in 2015. It is  into banking, airline transportation and health care in the US.  It bids for projects with Philippine government, particularly the Department of Health.

The IT-BPM industry in the Philippines has grown twelvefold since 2004 in terms of revenue, faster than the global industry, which has grown five times. In terms of work force, the Philippine industry grew 10 times. The size is seen to double by 2020, from 1.3 million full-time employees in 2016. □

Gliceria N. Cademia, Trade and Industry Development Specialist, Export Marketing Bureau, Department of Trade and Industry

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