In the last installment of our series on the top investment destinations in the Philippines, we are featuring Davao City, Davao's regional center and the trade, commerce, and industry hub in Mindanao. The largest city in the Philippines in terms of land area, Davao City is located in the southeastern part of Mindanao, 946 kms. away from Manila. With its strategic location and vast resources, the city is a key player in the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) trading club. It is also named as one of the most 20 livable cities in Asia and the most livable city in the Philippines by Asiaweek.
In 2002, Davao City is also recognized as the Most Competitive City to Do Business in the Philippines by the AIM Policy Center and DTI. The city's low cost of doing business, infrastructure, skilled human resource, linkages, high quality of life, and dynamic local economy are some of the factors that put the city as one of the most competitive cities in the country. Named as Southeast Asia's most peaceful city by the Time Magazine, the city also has one of the lowest crime rates in the world and the most prepared emergency response system in the Philippines.
Davao as an investment destination
Generating national and international buzz, Davao City remains as one of the most competitive investment destinations in the country, particularly in the IT-BPO sector. As Metro Manila and Metro Cebu starts to crowd out and competition for talent becomes higher, more companies are expanding investments into the area.
According to ICT Davao president Bert Barriga, Davao is the next frontier and is also a potential center for disaster recovery for company operations in major cities Iloilo, Bacolod City, Cebu, etc. that are often frequented by typhoons. The city government is currently focused on expanding the BPO sector that employs over 20,000 to 21,000 to 30,000 to 35,000 full-time employees by 2015. Recently, three companies have already set up shop in the city: Teleperformance, Convergys, and Ibex Global. Major local property developers have also begun construction of office buildings in the city including SM Prime Holdings Inc., Ayala Land Inc., and Robinsons Land Corp. Matina area, one of Davao's rising BPO hubs, currently houses two IT parks: NCCC IT Center and Matina IT Park (which will be completed in the first quarter of 2014). It is expected to house two more IT parks in the next few years.
Why Davao now?
- Prime IT location: The city has been declared as an IT hub by NTC, with available IT infrastructure, hardware, and software vendor support.
- Investment incentives: 3-year exemption from payment of Mayor's permit fees, business sales taxes, building permit fees, and other fees and charges and 2-year exemption from basic real property tax
- PEZA-accredited IT buildings and parks: Davao International Convention and Exhibition Center, Felcris IT Park, The Enterprise Building, Matina IT Park, Pink Walters IT Building
- Several IT-BPO and ICT locators: IBM, Concentrix, Sutherland Global Services, Teleperformance, Convergys, and Ibex Global
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