Moving businesses outside of Metro Manila is gaining some headway, with investors now looking prominently looking at several provinces for establishing operations in the country.
During a Nordic Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines event, Regus Country Manager Lars Wittig said companies should start exploring locations outside Metro Manila and even outside the Luzon area.
“During the last three to four years, conventional office space have pretty much doubled in price in Davao City, and investors and developers have been coming in a much more aggressive manner, so I have no doubt that now, the time is ripe,” Wittig said.
Regus recently opened its 25th center in Damosa IT Park in Davao. Wittig said they are now eyeing locations in Zamboanga, General Santos City and Cagayan de Oro, while also closely looking at Mactan, Iloilo and Bacolod.
According to Wittig, the trend now is for businesses to expand outside Metro Manila, because it is now very much congested.
“You can say the best way to help Metro Manila is to circumvent Metro Manila. Our observations, so far, is that in the past, whenever they expand, they would, by default, expand in Metro Manila. Now they are discussing when and where to expand, which provinces to go to first,” Wittig said.
He added: “We are all seeking inclusive growth, but going back, the last thing we want is urban poverty. We want to prevent urban poverty. The more that we can create in the provinces, the better it is for provinces, for the people in need and the better it is for Metro Manila.”
Wittig also said that, by the time companies have set up in key cities in the Visayas and Mindanao region within the next two to three years, other cities would have developed to tier two locations, as well.
However, the Regus official said companies should be wary of a build-and-go mentality and urges for a comprehensive understanding of the Philippines and its different provincial setting.
“It has to be horizontal growth. It is one where we must understand the country and every single province so well that we can single out when and where to open a new center because there is a need. Then we can go and press upon this on the business communities that now there is a solution for this need. But just because there is a need and you build a Regus center as a solution, that does not mean there will be inquiries. We need to connect the dots,” Wittig said.
Regus, with presence in 120 countries, is a multinational company that provides various forms of office spaces. Here in the Philippines it has operations in Metro Manila, Cebu, Clark and Davao.