Nema Etheridge for GlobalAtlanta
A 10-person government and trade delegation from the Philippines will meet with Georgia officials June 19-21 to promote the country as an outsourcing destination.
Atlanta businesspeople are invited to meet the delegation at a Tuesday, June 20, dinner held at 7 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Hotel and Conference Center in Decatur.
Celeste B. Ilagan, executive director of the Philippine government’s Board of Investment and Josephine Romero, Philippines Trade Representative based in New York will lead the group, which aims to promote the Philippines as a destination for call center outsourcing, according to Raoul Donato, honorary consul general for the Philippines in Atlanta.
Mr. Donato told GlobalAtlanta that the call center market in the Philippines was flourishing.
“Two years ago we had 15,000-20,000 seats [where a person sits in front of a computer] and now we have 55,000-60,000 seats,” he said, noting that companies such as AT&T Corp., BellSouth Corp. and Dell Inc. have call centers in the Philippines.
English proficiency and a relatively cheap peso make the Philippines an economical outsourcing alternative to India, where the rupee is getting stronger, he said.
Mr. Donato also said that the delegation was attracted to Atlanta because Philippine real estate developers are starting to see the Southeast United States’ some 100,000 Filipino-American residents as potential investors in their home country.
He cited a Wall Street Journal article from June 5 that said that the median household income for Filipino-Americans was $63,930 in 2004, suggesting Filipino-Americans had disposable incomes sizeable enough to purchase second homes.
Mr. Donato said that he expected the visiting delegation to encourage Atlanta Filipinos to reinvest in their home country.
In addition to Ms. Ilagan and Ms. Romero, Luis Raymond Villafuerte, governor of Camarines Sur the most populous province in central Philippines, and representatives from Zamboanga City, the sixth most populated city and one of only two economic zone authorities in the country, are also expected to attend.
Private sector representatives are to attend from Diversified Technology Systems Inc., an information technology supplier, WeServ Systems International Inc., a software services company that is a division of Fujitsu Philippines Inc. and the country’s business process outsourcing industry.
Mr. Donato and Atlanta’s Philippine community most recently hosted former Philippine President Fidel V. Ramos on a business trip to Atlanta last month.
During his trip to Atlanta, Mr. Ramos met with executives from locally based Coca-Cola Co., Mirant Corp. and United Parcel Service Inc., which have operations in the Philippines.
While Mr. Ramos did not organize the upcoming trade delegation to Atlanta, his visits help to boost the Philippines’ profile as an investment destination, Mr. Donato said.
The June 19-21 delegation will meet with representatives from the Georgia Department of Economic Development and the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce before continuing to Washington and New York.
For more information on the delegation’s visit, or to attend the Tuesday night dinner, which costs $45, contact Adrian Teador, president of the Philippine-American Chamber of Commerce of Georgia, at (678) 468-3599.