Singapore businesses looking for expansion opportunities in the region are highly considering the Philippine market as their choice investment destination, a recent survey showed.
The Singapore Business Federation’s (SBF) recent National Business Survey showed that the Philippines was among the top 10 markets of interest for Singaporean companies looking to expand their business.
“While many Singapore companies have established operations in the Philippines in industries such as manufacturing and infrastructure, there are untapped opportunities in areas such as information technology and digital solutions, which our companies with the capabilities will be able to take up,” SBF Chairman Teo Siong Seng said.
He added that the economic and social progress the Philippines has made, thus far, makes for an attractive and compelling case for Singapore investors.
“Asean remains a bright spot in a cloudy global economy and has abundant opportunities and potential for growth. Singapore and the Philippines have always enjoyed close economic ties,” the SBF chairman said.
In 2018, Singapore was the second-largest investor in the Philippines, and the Philippines’s largest export market among the member-states of the Asean.
Loh Chin Hua, chief executive officer of Keppel Corp. who is also co-chairman of the Philippines-Singapore Business Council, said the company is now exploring ways on how it can expand its investments in the Philippines, especially with the Duterte’s administration’s “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure modernization program now in full swing.
Keppel Corp. is one of Singapore’s largest conglomerates with involvement in the infrastructure sector.
He also noted that among the advantages of doing business in the Philippines is that investors can borrow in the local currency, thus reducing risks and enabling them to get reasonable returns.
“And that is quite a remarkable achievement because not many countries in this region can say that. And when you have to invest abroad but you have to borrow in their currencies, it always increases the risks,” Loh said. “For Keppel, we have operated two shipyards in the Philippines, and we are now looking to see how we can do more here.”
Earlier this month, a delegation of 21 Singapore business leaders from 14 companies joined the business mission organized by the SBF from September 9 to 11 2019. The delegation was led by SBF Chairman Teo Siong Seng.