Chinese firms are investing in electric vehicle assembly, telecoms and steel manufacturing projects in the Philippines, while Filipino investors in China are also coming back and reinvesting in the country.
Board of Investments (BOI) Managing Head Ceferino S. Rodolfo said this during the virtual “PH Economic! How Fast to Recovery? Challenge and Prospects” organized by the Integrated Development Studies Institute on Friday, July 16, as he responded to criticisms that none of the several committed Chinese investments has actually materialized.
“Like all countries, China’s committed investments are not all pushing through, but there are big ticket Chinese projects that have come in,” said Rodolfo.
Rodolfo, who is also trade and industry undersecretary, said a Chinese electric bicycle manufacturer that he did not identify has partnered with a Filipino firm to set up a manufacturing facility in Bulacan for e-bikes for the domestic and export markets.
According to Rodolfo, the Chinese firm and its partner started importing with e-bikes for the domestic market until they saw the capability of Filipinos to produce it locally.
Another Chinese firm that he did not also identify is from Wuhan, where the coronavirus started, is
investing in telecom services and telecom infrastructure in the country. Not only that, Rodolfo said the Chinese firm is also training Filipino workers as they plan to put up their hub in the Philippines for their telecom infrastructure projects in ASEAN and Asia.
“Large part of it is because of our workers’ capabilities and also our fluency in English. So it’s very easy for them to go around Asia and implement their projects,” he added.
Aside from the mainland Chinese investments, Rodolfo emphasized that Filipino businessmen that expanded in China are also coming back to invest in the Philippines.
“Prior to this administration there were more Filipinos investing in China than the reverse. We are already seeing some of Filipinos who have invested in China coming back,” he said.
For instance, he said of a Filipino company, a major stakeholder in an electric vehicle manufacturing in China that is going to set up the infrastructure for electric vehicle factory here.
The company is initially importing electric vehicles, but will eventually set up the infrastructure, particularly the very important charging stations. Once, their current business hits the 20,000 unit sales mark, Rodolfo said the company will go into e-vehicle assembly.
Rodolfo also cited some of the big-ticket items from China that have come in “very important” sectors like telecom. He noted of the Chinese partner of Dito Telecoms, the third telco player owned by businessman Dennis Uy.
“What we are seeing is the state-owned enterprises that very early on of this administration really signified interest, some of these have continued on such as the China Telecom,” he added.
There are also more commercially driven enterprises coming to the Philippines like the Panhua Steel, which invested in Mindanao. “You are not just hearing it, but they have continued on the construction of steel mill,” he pointed out.