“Cross-border partnerships are still flourishing even in the time of COVID-19.” This was the key message of the Singapore Business Federation’s event FYI ASEAN: Expanding Trade and Investment Opportunities in the Philippines, held last August 12, 2021 with the participation of several YCP Solidiance professionals.
Relations between Singapore and the Philippines have always been collaborative and rooted in similar cultures, making both countries ideal investment partners due to their global proximity. Forecasts from the Asian Development Bank show that the Philippines is poised to bounce back as one of Asia’s fastest growing economies this 2021 and beyond, making it the perfect time for foreign players to invest.
Our Director Anna Rellama gave a presentation on the Philippines’ key growth sectors, and the business opportunities in store for Singapore’s investors:
- Consumer Health: The Philippines is witnessing a rapid shift towards digitalized healthcare, as evidenced by the boom of telehealth services like KonsultaMD (which registered a 461% increase in consultations from 2019 to 2020). More traditional healthcare is also seeing growth through continued investments and expansion to accommodate the archipelago’s medical needs.
- Retail: Much like the rest of the region and the world, Filipino consumers have embraced e-commerce over the past year—registering a whopping 325% increase in online shopping last 2020. Investments in digital payments and e-commerce are exceedingly popular, and even new players in the brick-and-mortar retail space are seeing growth. In fact, local grocer MerryMart launched an IPO amidst pandemic lockdowns due to their increased expansion.
- Energy: Long-term investments in renewable energy are set to dominate this sector and help the local economy pivot towards more sustainable options. Government regulations going into effect, such as Republic Act 11285 or the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Law, mean partnerships in renewables and LNG are expected to thrive.
- Construction & Infrastructure: Spending within this sector over the past year is expected to generate at least 300,000 jobs through new projects in telecom and transportation. These investments will hopefully result in compounded benefits for businesses in the long run.
Rellama also cites the numerous incentives for foreign players—the CREATE Act, and other upcoming legislation around foreign investment—as helping the local landscape be more investor-friendly for potential partners.
“Although doing business in the Philippines from Singapore has never been this easy, any on-the-ground implementation may still require boots on the ground,” Rellama says. “The best way forward is to cooperate and partner with local players that can facilitate your growth during these difficult times.”
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