Population (2017): 104,918,090
GDP (2017): US$313,595,210,000
World Bank “Ease of Doing Business” Rank (2018): 113
Bilateral Trade with Singapore (2017): S$17,948,500,000
Trading Partner Rank (2017): 14
The Philippines' GDP growth is robust, growing by more than 6% each year since 2010. This can be attributed to increasing foreign investments, as well as growing domestic consumption. The increase in domestic spending is fuelled by overseas remittances from some 10% of the Filipino population who are working abroad, and a booming business process outsourcing industry. In July 2017, amid strong growth prospects, the Philippines received a credit rating of “BBB” from major credit raters, Fitch, Moody’s Investors Service and S&P Global Ratings1.
1 “Fitch Affirms PHL’s Investment Grade”, Business World, 19 Jul 2018
The Philippines has a huge population size of about 105 million people, which is projected to increase to about 118 million people by 20252. It also has a young workforce with a young median age of 23.5 years3. Overseas Filipino workers sent home US$31.3 billion (S$42.3 billion) in 2017, 5.3% more than the previous year. Earnings from the thriving business process outsourcing industry, notably the call centre sector, also grew 9.6% in 20174. These two forces have driven consumption to grow stronger along with increasing demand for better consumer goods and services. The Philippines thus provides a huge and young consumer base for your products. Many Singapore startups and tech-related companies, such as Carousell, Grab, Honestbee, Shopee, Shopback and SGAG, have already expanded into this market.
3 CIA World Factbook
4 World Population Review, September 2018
Retail malls are social hubs where Filipinos go to shop, eat, watch movies and socialise. The prevalence of huge retail malls thronging with crowds underscore the vibrant mall culture in the Philippines society. Big domestic corporations dominate mall ownership in the Philippines, with the four largest family-owned conglomerates operating 185 malls in 2017. Between them, they will be opening 22 new malls in 2018, mostly outside Metro Manila5. If you are planning to take your retail business to the Philippines, explore setting afoot in one of these new growth destinations.
5 CIA World Factbook
The Philippines government embarked on a US$180 billion (S$243 billion) “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure programme in 2017 to transform its economy by 2022. The programme identified 75 high-impact projects across various sectors including aviation, education, energy, healthcare, infrastructure, transport, and water6.
By July 2018, the Philippines had approved 35 projects and embarked on 19 of them7. Singapore companies are working with Philippines conglomerates or consortiums on some of these projects through the well-structured PPP Programme. They contribute their technical expertise and experience in structuring large-scale infrastructure and utilities projects.
Such partnerships are beneficial to Singapore companies like yours, as they allow you to focus on the technical solutioning while local companies navigate the complex tender processes and regulatory requirements.
There is also growing demand for solutions in decentralised infrastructure to serve the archipelagic country. These local facilities will improve efficiency and bring basic utilities to previously unserved areas across more than 7,000 islands that make up the Philippines. If you own an SME, you can consider taking on these small-scale infrastructure projects valued at between S$5 million and S$70 million.
6 “Duterte's Ambitious 'Build, Build, Build' Project to Transform The Philippines Could Become His Legacy”, Forbes, 28 February, 2018
7 “Two Years of Build Build Build”, ABS-CBN, 24 July 2018