The Philippines as ‘Franchise Hub of Asia’

exports02-101216By Eric Elnar / Commercial Attaché/Trade Service Officer,  Philippine Trade and Investment Center-Dubai

WITH the Philippines’s growing economy thriving on the ingenuity of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and talents of young entrepreneurs, the franchising industry remains a viable investment option—more so, with the projected growth of up to 20 percent and with about 300 local and international brands entering the market in 2016.

The Philippine Franchise Association’s (PFA) Chairman Emeritus Samie Lim also projected the Philippines will cement its footing as the “Franchise Hub of Asia” with the current pace of growth. (Note that this data came from news clippings dated June and July 2016, based on statements from the PFA.)

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), through its various Philippine Trade and Investment Centers (PTIC) worldwide, has  been promoting franchising for our overseas kababayan. PTIC  has  developed programs on franchising Philippine brands, such as seminars and business matching to bring together franchise owners and franchisees, due-diligence advice for both Filipino franchisor and overseas franchisee, and promotional activities for franchise events both abroad and in the Philippines.

The DTI works with various stakeholders in the franchising sector, such as the industry associations, in promoting franchising to overseas Filipinos as part of the MSME development in the country.

Franchising in the Philippines has thrived as a self-regulating industry.  Industry associations, such as the PFA and Association of Filipino Franchisers Inc. (AFFI), with more than half of the over 1,200 franchise brands in the Philippines, under their leadership, have grown the industry to its current level. The public may be advised to deal only with legitimate franchisors, and if possible, members of PFA, AFFI and other self-regulating associations. Franchise owners are encouraged to join industry associations.

PTIC-Dubai, in recent months, organized and participated in franchising seminars by the top franchise associations in the Philippines, the PFA and the AFFI.

During the Philippine Business Council-Dubai Franchising Seminar, in collaboration with the AFFI in May in Dubai, more than 50 mostly Filipino prospective franchisees attended. The seminar was opened by Paul Raymund P. Cortes, Philippine consul general to Dubai.  The main speaker, Armando Bartolome, chairman of AFFI, spoke on “Investing in a Franchise Business in the Philippines.”  Some of the Philippines’s established and new franchise concepts —Julie’s Bakeshop, Fiorgelato, Generics Pharmacy, Seaoil, Nail It!, Trueblends Tea+Coffee and Acquasuisse Perfume Bar—were also marketed during the event as available franchise opportunities.

Commercial Attaché Eric C. Elnar of PTIC-Dubai gave the closing remarks. This is the second franchising seminar in Dubai in the last six months, after the PFA’s event in November 2015 organized by PTIC-Dubai.

The DTI’s trade posts in Dubai and Jeddah also invited participants for PFA’s Franchise Asia Philippines 2016 conference and expo in July.  Among the more than 100 targeted companies that are current and prospective franchisees of Philippine brands, PTIC Dubai and Jeddah confirmed two attendees from the UAE, one from Qatar, and an industry leader as speaker.