SM group capitalizes on BPO boom in Davao
DAVAO CITY, Philippines - Capitalizing on continued demand for business process outsourcing space, the SM group of retail taipan Henry Sy is opening 2,800 more BPO seats this year within its Davao malls.
SM City Davao, also known as SM Ecoland, will house 2,200 BPO seats operated by Teleperformance, while US-based outsourcing services provider IBEX Global will have 592 seats occupying 1,500 square meters in SM's Lanang Premier. These are expected to generate roughly 3,500 jobs.
"We have a growing call center industry, aside from tourists many investors coming in and many other industries are growing," said Therese Lapeña-Manalo, mall manager of SM Lanang Premier.
Located north of Davao City, SM Lanang Premier is the group's second mall there. Sitting on a 10-hectare property, it houses several mid to high priced retail brands, an iMAX cinema and the SMX convention center signifying the growing affluence of Davao as a key urban city in the south.
Out of SM's four malls in Mindanao, Lanang Premier is so far the largest in gross floor area (GFA) terms.
"The brand equity of SM is very high so as much as possible we try to also give them what we have in Manila so people don't have to travel all the way there," Debby Go, head of SM Prime's Mindanao operations said.
Another 6,000 square meters of BPO space is still available in SM City Davao in which, a lease deal is likely to be finalized within the year. All in all, a total of 21,500 square meters of BPO space will be occupied.
The Philippines is a favored hub among BPO locators, due to its strong human capital -- a relatively young population with good English language skills. Many have already ventured outside Metro Manila and choosing next wave cities.
Over the years, SM has been allotting more BPO space within its malls, as round-the-clock call center operations need support facilities such as dining and entertainment, at the same time providing a steady market for the mall's tenants.
Inspired by Mindanao's growing economy and high consumer spending power, SM is set to build new malls in Butuan and Cagayan de Oro, bringing its mall count in the island to six.
To date, its Mindanao malls have a total GFA of 455,649 square meters, contributing four percent to the group's total revenues.