By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
More British firms including a gin manufacturer are investing in the Philippines as shown by 2,351 companies exploring opportunities last year alone and a substantial increase in membership of the British Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines.
“Interests in the Philippines continue to rise,” Chris Nelson, executive director of the British Chamber, noting that the chamber has now 309 members from only 193 in 2013 and 279 in 2017. The growth in membership is driving by the growing interest in the country across industries from construction and engineering, ICT, business management, retail, HR, financial services, hotel, manufacturing, real estate, logistics, aviation services, legal, training and education, among others.
The chamber has an initiative called Overseas Partner Delivery project in partnership with the US Department for International Trade to generate interest between businessmen from both countries. This partnership has assisted 2,351 British interests last year from only 348 in 2014-2015 and 1,801 interests in 2017-2018 fiscal year.
Notably, one of the British firms assisted by the chamber in 2019 was Nelson’s Gin, a British gin manufacturer that plans to build a school for gin-making in the Philippines, the world’s largest gin market. It will be called Nelson’s Distillery and School. The school had a soft launch in November this year.
“The Philippines is the largest gin market in the world, making it one of the top choices for British retailers to expand their reach into the country,” he added.
According to Nelson, who has no relation to the gin maker, Nelson’s Gin plans to open its first school in the first quarter next year for those interested to learn about gin. It will also produce gin for local supply, especially to hotels and restaurants as well as for the exports market.
The company plans to build other gin making schools in other parts of the country in partnership with local businessmen.
Companies that were assisted by the chamber this year include VShips (crew management), Jacob White Packaging (packaging equipment), International Food Brokers (food and drink), Lingfield College (education), Tiptree (tea), and BHJ Foods UK (meat products).
Nelson said that the attractiveness of the Philippines remains its young population and proficiency in English, which translate to a rich talent pool that is highly trainable and adaptable to universal cultures.
“The growing market of the Philippines is highly attractive for UK companies to tap especially in the food and drink sector,” he said.