IBM has opened a training center in the Philippines--its "sixth and final in growth markets" this year, in a bid to reach more developers in the country, the IT vendor said in a statement Friday.
According to Big Blue, the center joins five other such centers opened this year in emerging markets: Brazil, Poland, South Africa, Romania and fellow Asean country, Vietnam.
Jim Corgel, general manager of IBM ISV (independent software vendor) and developer relations, said in an e-mail to ZDNet Asia that IBM's other such facility in the region is in Malaysia, opened in 2006, adding to some 40 other such "innovation centers" globally.
In a statement, Alliance Software's president Robert Cheng said the center's free provision of skilled personnel is expected to help reduce porting and testing costs for the software company.
Corgel said the Philippines is expected to be home to the largest number of software developers in the Asean region by 2010, and IBM "has seen substantial growth" among Filipino IT workers using its DeveloperWorks online developer resource.
"Over 20,000 unique Filipino developers visited the site each month this year, an increase from 12,000 in 2008," he said.
The site provides software tools and code in areas such as Linux, Java and XML (Extensible Markup Language).
Corgel pointed to the country's growing Internet population as an indication of the Philippines' expected growth in IT infrastructure and manpower. Its 24 million online users are a 75 percent growth from 14 million last year, he added.
According to reports, however, the country's broadband penetration still lags behind its neighbors.
He declined to specify how much IBM invested in the Philippines center, or if it received government funding for the project, but said the company's entire spending on these "innovation centers" would amount to US$2.5 billion this year.