‘Let foreign investors help in developing local economy’By Aileen Garcia-Yap
We should get more non-Cebuano people to live here and spend their money here to help sustain Cebu’s economic growth.
Cebu should do this to expand its economy, said Joel Mari Yu, Cebu Investments and Promotions Center managing director, during last Friday’s 2012 Cebu Annual Economic Briefing and Investment Forum held at the newly opened Quest Hotel Cebu.
Yu said letting non-Cebuanos participate in Cebu’s development by allowing them to invest and live here would stir more economic activities and increase the Cebuanos’ purchasing power.
Yu said these objectives would continue the economic growth brought about by the three top performing industries in Cebu — manufacturing, IT-BPO (information technology-business process outsourcing) and property industry.
As of December 2011, there were 262 foreign direct investments locating in major economic zones in Cebu registering total export sales of $3.63 billion while about 126 outsourcing companies are now here in Cebu with a total of 65,000 employees and $1.25 billion in export sales.
Property industry has also grown from only about 5,000 hotel rooms in 1992 to 11,169 hotel rooms now, 4,551 condominium units and available office space of 428,075 square meters.
Yu said that about 1,317 residential condominiums will be added within this year and another 1,961 units in 2013.
“We have demonstrated our capability of getting non-Cebuanos to invest in capital expenses like factories, office space, commercial establishments and resorts to spend for operating expenses here,” said Yu.
“We will continue to do so and we should now also develop a program focused on getting non-Cebuanos to invest in second homes in Cebu and pay living expenses here,” he said.
According to Yu, Cebu’s main attraction is its livability that offers a wide range of residential facilities and a good combination of urban facilities for the basic needs as well as a “resort” feel offered by the resort facilities.
“Our target markets should include the increasing retiree communities in Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan and China, as well as the balikbayans and affluent Filipinos outside of Cebu,” said Yu.
Yu said that it is important to increase Cebu’s current population base of around 2 million to at least 2.5 million immediately, saying that a study by the United Nations Population Program revealed that the most ideal population for a metropolis like Cebu is 2.5 million to 4 million people.
“We can do this, Cebu is 7 times bigger than Singapore and the best way to do this fast is by getting people to come here and invest in second homes here,” said Yu.
Yu added Cebu should also work out in solving its current issues ensuring we have the capability to cater to every opportunity especially when “economies of scale” are achieved through the increased in number of people living in Cebu or having second homes in Cebu.
“We should improve Cebu’s competitiveness in four dimensions including the hardware which are the infrastructure, the software improving business-friendly environment, peopleware and cost-effectiveness,” he said.
Yu also cited the united efforts of outsourcing stakeholders in Cebu to sustain our ranking as one of the Top 10 outsourcing locations for IT in the world by rapidly putting in investments in infrastructure and continuously developing organizations, human resources and enabling policies.
Yu also said that these stakeholders weren’t expecting the ““Anti-Outsourcing” Bill in the United States, even with the support of President Barack Obama, to succeed.
“In the past, the United States government also once tried to stop manufacturing to go out but today, manufacturing is one of the many operations in a company that most companies opt placed in an area where they can achieve highest competitiveness. This is the same for outsourcing,” said Yu.
He also cited Cebu’s high potential to develop KPO or knowledge process outsourcing that’s not only limited to voice services.
“Tholons recommendations include developing talent supply pipeline, maximize BPO segment and capabilities like the customer support and call center services, administration and back office, data processing and transcription and develop the KPO segment,” he said.