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Philippine IT-BPO Industry Hits 2011 Targets, Grows 24%

IT-BPO employment stood at 638,000 and revenues were over US$11 billion by end-2011

Manila, Philippines –  The Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP) announced recently that the Philippine information technology and business process outsourcing (IT-BPO) industry ended 2011 with US$11 billion in revenues, or 24% higher than in 2010, and employed 638,000, or 22% more employees in the same period.

“We hit the targets projected in our Road Map 2016,” pointed out new BPAP president and CEO Benedict Hernandez. “This is a good start to our five-year plan to grow at average of 20% a year—above projected global annual growth rates of 10% to 15%.” At a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20%, IT-BPO will become a US$25-billion industry by 2016, contributing about 9% of GDP and capturing 10% of the global IT-BPO market share, Hernandez added.

The country’s world No. 1 status in contact centers was further strengthened by impressive growth reported by the Contact Center Association of the Philippines (CCAP), also headed by Hernandez. The contact center sector ended 2011 with 416,000 employees providing US$7.4 billion in services to the world. Already the largest contact center hub in the world, the sector posted a healthy 21% growth in 2011 and remained the largest sector of the Philippines IT-BPO industry at 65% of total industry.

The Healthcare Information Management Outsourcing Association of the Philippines (HIMOAP) also produced impressive numbers that combined expansion and a first attempt to measure healthcare information management outsourcing (HIMO) services being done across a range of business process companies. A preliminary survey indicated that as much as US$277 million worth of HIMO services were provided to global end-users from the Philippines, with the sector employing 24,700.

Philippine Software Industry Association (PSIA) president Nora Terrado reported a high 37% growth in revenues from IT outsourcing, compared with just 11% in employment growth. Anecdotal indicators also point to strong demand for Philippine IT services into 2012.

The Animation Council of the Philippines, Inc., (ACPI), however, revealed that the sector lost out to some contracts as global competition heated up in back-room animation services, particularly from countries like China that subsidize animation operations. ACPI reported that its sector shrank by 10% to US$128 million in revenues in 2011 but it maintained its headcount at about 8,600 animators.

ACPI has been running its annual animation competition, Animahenasyon, for the past 4 years to encourage local animators to produce original animated films and cartoons. Some of the winners have been featured on local cable channels such as the Knowledge Channel.

The Game Developers Association of the Philippines (GDAP) reported that their first competition also uncovered many young talented game developers.  GDAP members have also produced games that have gained followers in the online world. The game development sector grew by 13% in 2011, reaching US$8 million in revenues and employing almost 1,400.

Raymond Lacdao, BPAP’s Executive Director for Industry Affairs, added that companies providing engineering services from the Philippines saw a 5% increase in revenues and employment in 2011 ending the year at over 9,000 employees providing US$172 million worth of services. This is a second consecutive year of positive growth after a contraction in 2009, reflecting a recovery in global markets for construction and engineering design.

Finally, BPAP Senior Executive Director Gillian Virata reported that non-voice BP and knowledge process (KP) services grew by 24% in 2011 to over US$2 billion in revenues and almost 130,000 employees. “These numbers are somewhat deceptive because we reclassified a chunk of high-value, non-voice services to HIMO,” explained Virata.

Overall, Virata pointed out that the data shows that the industry has been steadily moving into high-value services. “This year there was a relatively sharp spike in the revenue-to-employee ratio for ITO and also for HIMO (compared with the ratio for transcription), which increased the ratio overall for total industry.” This trend is in line with BPAP’s growth plans which are aligned with government’s plans for the industry.

Hernandez concluded by acknowledging that hitting the industry’s targets for 2016 would “not be possible without the strong government support that we are now experiencing.” Government has already granted ?450 million in subsidies for training through the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) led by Secretary Joel Villanueva. DOST’s ICT Office (ICTO) Deputy Executive Director Alejandro Melchor III also reported that ?350 million has been allocated by the ICTO to support the IT-BPO industry. The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) has also approved the offering of BPAP’s Service Management Specialization Track starting June 2012 and has allocated about ?125 million to SUCs to implement IT-BPO programs.

BPAP has also received support from Budget Secretary Butch Abad, Education Secretary Bro. Armin Luistro, Labor Secretary Linda Baldoz, Trade Secretary Greg Domingo, PEZA Director General Lilia de Lima, BOI undersecretaries Adrian Cristobal and Cristino Panlilio, as well as from legislators such as Senator Edgardo Angara and Congressmen Freddie Tinga and Roman Romulo. “The support has been overwhelming and we are beefing up our team and resources to be able to effectively manage the programs that we have developed and that government is supporting,” explained Hernandez.

“With this support, comes great responsibility; we are investing in resources that will ensure we make good on our commitments to government and all our other development partners.

“A key success factor,” Hernandez added, “is our ability to engage our members and other stakeholders in these programs as volunteer leaders and team members, sponsors, and contributors.”