Since the early 90s, India and the Philippines have been rivals in dominating the international business process outsourcing (BPO) scene. Their longstanding battle to become the top outsource provider have benefited both countries as they continuously strive for excellence and improve their services.
Although India has been in the industry longer and has a larger employment pool, with 434M against Philippines’ 34M as of 2015, the fast growing BPO sector of the Philippines remained consistent. This continuous growth has gained the country the upper hand of the battle, specifically when it comes to contact center services and voice-support industry.
Eventually, in 2013, the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry in India (ASSOCHAM) has reported that the country had loss 70% of its call center outsourcing business services to the Philippines and Eastern Europe. Since then, the Philippines remained the stronger provider of voice-support outsourcing, which ultimately clinched the title ‘Call Center Capital of the World’ from India.
According to D.S. Rawat, secretary general of ASSOCHAM, several factors have made the Philippines a stronger competitor compared to India when it comes to call center business services. Filipino employees’ fluency in speaking the English language has paved the way for them to clinch the said title. He furthered that their neutral accent is what clients are looking for, which is what’s missing in Indian employees.
In addition, the Philippines’ cultural proximity to the US has gained the country the advantage over India’s outsource providers. Rawat also explained that the talented manpower in the country is also a key factor why BPO companies choose to operate in the Philippines.
The Information Technology-Business Processing Association of the Philippines (iBPAP) also backed those reasons up, stating that Filipinos are excellent in communication and have good command of English. iBPAP further explained that although the Philippines has slightly higher labor rate than that of India, the quality of service and productivity are what attract BPO companies to outsource in the country.
Moreover, government support has also played a big role in boosting the BPO industry in the Philippines. For instance, the passing of laws such as the RA 10173, or the Data Privacy Act of 2012, has convinced companies to operate in the country. The said act complies with the International Data Privacy Standard, which helps ensure the security of sensitive data while working in the country.
The revision of RA 7916 or the Special Economic Zone Act of 1994, which exempts BPO companies from paying national and local taxes for buildings also helped bolster the said sector in the country. This move attracted more companies to establish contact center services business in the country.
With all these factors, the Philippines was able to grow fast, eventually taking over the call-center industry from the other BPO giant. On the other hand, although the country is now considered the call-center capital of the world, India remains the top outsource provider when it comes it information technology.
However, if the country continues to produce employable graduates, and the government offers its unwavering support, it is not far for the Philippines to dominate the other BPO industries and not just the contact center and call-center services.