Options for NZ firms in Philippines by ROMY UDANGA
Two of the largest telecommunication companies in the Philippines were among the information and communication technology (ICT) businesses that met with their New Zealand counterparts in Auckland last week to explore potential business opportunities between the two countries.
Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company, the leading telecommunications provider in the Philippines, and Globe Communications were among eight companies that pitched their business propositions at the New Zealand Trade and Enterprise-organised meet and greet.
NZTE ICT and creative services acting director Matt Richie said the event aims to raise the profile of New Zealand’s ICT industry, which has a market turnover of about $20 billion yearly and exports of about $1.5b, in the Philippines.
Of most interest to the Filipinos was our health IT and agricultural technology sector while the Kiwis were keen on the Philippines’ telecommunication and business processing outsourcing sectors, including call centres.
Philippine Information and Communications Technology commissioner Monchito Ibrahim said the capability of the Philippine ICT industry – whose business processing outsourcing services revenue alone exceeded $11.5b (US$9b) in 2010 – is not well known in New Zealand.
“The Philippines surpassed India for the first time this year in terms of total revenues for call centre operations. We achieved revenues of US$5.7b against India’s US$5.6b in pure voice-based services alone,” Ibrahim said.
BPO umbrella organisation Business Process Association of the Philippines executive director Gillian Joyce Virata said the association could help Kiwi companies with their “business matching” needs. “We have 280 corporate members that are engaged in BPO. Together with the government, BPAP leads local talent recruitment and development,” Virata said.
Exist Software Labs business development manager Donna Alix said the Philippines was “an undiscovered talent” among New Zealand business.
“We’ve been developing software in the Philippines since 2001. What we want to introduce to the New Zealand market is that ability.”
Auckland-based Ian Allan, marketing manager at Mobilis Networks, developer of real time, pre-paid and post-paid billing software for mobile and wireless networks, and software for data and voice switching among others, said there were real opportunities for partnership.
“Exist, which has outsourcing software development, is going to be the one I’d be talking to. They seem to have a lot of expertise in iPhone and Android development. This is something that we can take advantage of because it is not our core competency … but if we can utilise services like that it will be a great advantage to us.
“And, of course, PLDT and Globe Telecom are here as well, and they are a potential customer to us. They have been a customer to us in a previous company,” Allan said.
NZTE’s Richie said that apart from the business-to-business meet, he is optimistic for a government-to-government outcome “that will pave the way for New Zealand ICT companies to go to the Philippines on a mission” one day.
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