Need for Filipino IT firms to go global

Need for Filipino IT firms to go global

Summary: Unlike India which has launched quite a number of successful global IT firms, mostly in the BPO (business process outsourcing) sector, the Philippines seems to be content in merely hosting multinational companies in the country.A cursory glance at the composition of the largest tech firms in the country would reveal that the majority, if not all, of them are foreign-owned.

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Unlike India which has launched quite a number of successful global IT firms, mostly in the BPO (business process outsourcing) sector, the Philippines seems to be content in merely hosting multinational companies in the country.

A cursory glance at the composition of the largest tech firms in the country would reveal that the majority, if not all, of them are foreign-owned. Even in the field of outsourcing where the Philippines has made some inroads, the biggest names are still those from the United States, United Kingdom, and yes, India.

Sure, there are some Filipino-owned BPO firms which have expanded into foreign shores, but none of them have approximated the level of prominence or success the likes of India's Infosys, and even Satyam, have achieved--just the mention of these company names would earn recognition of their country of origin.

Sadly, that's not the case with the Philippines. While the country has somehow been able to market itself as a viable offshore destination, there are no homegrown icons to speak of that can serve as IT ambassadors for the country.

Of course, this is not to say that the Philippines is lacking in talent. It is precisely because of the world-class IT knowledge of Filipinos that multinational firms have come flocking to set up shop here. Perhaps, it is in the marketing aspect that we Pinoys have come up short.

Currently, I can only think of three locally-bred tech firms that have "known" overseas operations-–BayanTrade, G2iX, and Gurango Software Corp (GSC). BayanTrade, which labels itself as a KPO (knowledge process outsourcing) company, recently expanded its business to Indonesia. It also reported it has just been granted an international ISO certification.

Meanwhile, G2iX, an open source solutions developer, had just come back from its participation in the Hong Kong International ICT Expo where it offered its products to global companies. On the other hand, GSC, which has subsidiaries in Asia, Australia, Africa, the Middle East, Western Europe and North America, recently announced plans to formally establish a software academy that will initially offer an intensive three-month course to programmers.

Hopefully, the small steps these firms are taking will take them-–and the country, as well–-to the global stage.

Rigodon Update While the local IT sector awaits the effect of the surprise acquisition of Sun Microsystems by Oracle, here are some personnel movements that have transpired recently:

-- Anthony Agustin, who used to handle the storage product line of Sun Microsystems Philippines, has jumped over to HP Philippines. He's handling the same task at HP since January.

-- Jerry Lacson, the marketing guy of Samsung Philippines for the last 12 years, is now with Dell Philippines.

Topics: Oracle, Hardware, Open Source, Outsourcing, Storage, India, Philippines, IT Employment, Social Enterprise

Melvin G. Calimag

About Melvin G. Calimag

Melvin G. Calimag is currently the executive editor of an IT news website in the Philippines. Melvin has been covering the local IT beat for the last 13 years. He is currently a board member at the IT Journalists Association of the Philippines (CyberPress), and also serves as a charter member with the Philippine Science Journalists Association.

Joel D. Pinaroc

About Joel D. Pinaroc

Joel has been a media practitioner since 1996, starting off as a reporter and eventually becoming editor of a pioneering IT trade newspaper in Manila. He is currently one of the content producers of a Manila-based developmental website.

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  • Need for Filipino IT firms to go global

    HI Melvin,

    Nice article. I think the challenge for many tech companies in the Philippines (and in Asia for that matter) is it takes a lot of capital to market and have considerable presence overseas (and by this I dont mean Internet marketing for small, transactions with lttle value add--I mean joining trade shows, going on trade missions, meeting face to face with decision makers abroad, providing onsite consulting and support, developing partner/reseller channels, etc). In order to do this, often times you need funding from a wealthy angel investor (as in the case of GSC and G2iX), from venture funds or capital grown organically through growth. Now the first is difficult as it requires the right sort of connections or "social capital"--something not all entrepreneurs have, but something many Indians have with their hundreds of technopreneurs who made it big in the US in the 80s and 90s do have like Vinod Khosla. The second is hard, because the Philippines and many countries in Asia simply dont have the venture ecosystem and capital markets like they have in the US. The third route is harder as it requires a large enough local customer base, a robust local economy that is growing to support and fund that kind of internal growth. Technical brilliance, smart people unfortunately is not enough. Environment, connections, capital, luck (as in the book by Malcolm Gladwell Outliers) plays a part as well.
    anonymous
  • Need for Filipino IT firms to go global

    I blogged a more coherent reply over at:

    http://webwonker.wordpress.com/2009/04/24/what-it-takes-for-filipino-it-companies-to-go-global/
    anonymous
  • RE: Need for Filipino IT firms to go global

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