30 outsourcing billionaires
MANILA, Philippines - Known as the call center capital of the world, the Philippines is home to 30 business process outsourcing (BPO) companies that make over a billion pesos annually, disclosed House Deputy Majority Leader Roman Romulo over the weekend.
That puts the number of billionaire-grossing outsourcing firms at nearly thrice the number of personal billionaires, who number only 11, according to the Philippines' 40 Richest list by Forbes.
Based on 2010 revenues reported to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Romulo named 30 billionaire firms.
The BPO's combined gross revenue totals P133.791 billion. That's more than 5 times the net worth of the 11 richest men in the Philippines (who include the likes of Henry Sy, Lucio Tan, John Gokongwei Jr, and Jaime Zobel de Ayala).
Fueling Philippine growth
Outsourcing businesses, like call centers, that take care of business functions for large international companies, are said to be responsible for economic growth in the country and offering a strong source of employment to educated workers.
The Philippines with its English edge has been able to undercut international competitors in the BPO industry. As early as 2010, IBM's Global Locations Trend Annual Report recognized the Philippines as the number 1 country in the world for BPO.
“The 30 firms are the faces of our BPO industry. They each directly employ anywhere from 5,000 to 25,000 mostly college-educated, fluent English-speaking and tech-savvy Filipino professionals,” said Romulo.
BPOs have been criticized for not fueling inclusive growth, with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) saying that the sector doesn't supply the higher paying jobs needed to reduce poverty.
ADB said that the impact of the growth in the industry has barely trickled down to most of the population, which totaled 92.3 million as of 2010.
Still government leaders realize it wouldn't be wise to ignore since the BPO industry is projected to grow at least 15% annually until 2015, according to the Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP). Revenues are expected to reach up to $25 billion (or about P1 trillion) by 2016 with an employment base of 1.3 million, according to BPAP's IT-BPO Road Map 2010-2016.
Bill to increase BPO growth and privacy
Romulo, an ardent backer of the BPO sector, has authored the proposed Data Privacy Act to drive more outsourcing to Manila. The bill would require public and private entities, such as a BPO company, to protect the confidentiality of personal data collected from clients.
“We have high hopes that once the bill is enacted, our labor-intensive and information technology-enabled BPO firms will be able to draw in more clients, and in the process, grow revenues and jobs at a faster pace,” said the legislator.
In the Congress, Romulo represents Pasig City, which is home to 3 of the 30 highest-grossing BPO firms -- Telephilippines, Telus and Sykes.
The bill is currently pending in a bicameral conference committee, and will be sent to Malacañang for President Aquino’s signature after the committee adds its finishing touches.
Though Romulo highlighted the bill's potential financial impact, on its own the confidentiality and privacy measures in the legislation will move the Philippines a step closer to complying with international privacy standards. - Rappler.com
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