The Philippine software industry is looking to solidify its presence in the Japanese market. For twelve consecutive years, the country has been participating in the Software Development Expo (SODEC), and had consistently done so with the involvement of both the public and private sectors. SODEC is Japan’s largest annual software and IT trade show, where more than 80,000 visitors, as well as 1,500 exhibitors, are expected to attend at the Tokyo International Convention Center (Tokyo Big Sight) on May 14-16, 2014.
In its desire to cement the rapidly advancing position of its software industry as a key player in the international arena, the Philippines, led by the industry through the Philippine Software Industry Association (PSIA) and the Government, through the Department of Science and Technology-Information and Communications Technology Office (DOST-ICT Office), will showcase its Philippine-based, globally-competitive software companies and IT outsourcing (ITO) service providers. Continued conduct of this trade mission to Japan aims to capture opportunities and will position the Philippines as one of the more mature and preferred destinations for ITO. Together with the DOST-ICT Office and the PSIA, the delegation will be composed of Alliance Software Inc., Advanced World Systems Inc., PNI Business Solutions Inc., Pointwest Technologies Corp., Tsukiden Global Solutions Inc., and Ubiquitous Technologies Philippines, Inc.

Three-fold Participation

The Philippine delegation intends to maximize this mission through the conduct of seminars and related meetings that complement the presence of the country pavilion in the 3-day SODEC expo. On May 12, the delegation shall be conducting company presentations to at least two giant Japanese companies
Meantime, on May 13, the delegation has organized pre-arranged business matching meetings with nine Japanese companies at the Philippine Embassy in Roponggi, Tokyo. The Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) Tokyo in the Embassy of the Philippines is leading the pre-arrangement of such business matching meetings.
Following the business meetings, the Philippine delegation has scheduled the conduct of the Philippine Software and ITO Seminar to be held at the ASEAN-Japan Centre. This is the tenth consecutive year that such an annual event is conducted, and this year, Japanese executives and senior managers from some 130 companies are expected to attend the Seminar. This will serve as a venue for the members of the Philippine Delegation to describe the country’s value proposition in the global ITO market as well as promote its specific capabilities. The Seminar, to be conducted in Nihonggo, will also feature speakers from the Philippine Government including His Excellency, Manuel M. Lopez, Ambassador of the Philippines to Japan, as well as a testimonial from Mr.  Yasuhito Okabe of Fujitsu Ltd. entitled “The Role of the Philippines in Fujitsu’s Global Business.”

The Rationale

PSIA maintains that the country’s participation at SODEC is critical. Aside from being a lucrative trade mission for the participating Filipino companies, the Philippine pavilion at this mega expo is also the country’s primary and only direct initiative in sustaining its branding as one of Japan’s reliable global business partners for its IT and software service needs. Revenue-wise, the Philippine delegation to SODEC 2012 and 2013 composed of 6-8 companies have closed a combined amount of almost US$ 400,000 while some US $ 300,000 worth of contracts are still under negotiation.

“Through SODEC, we hope that we will be able to­ increase awareness of Filipino software development talent amongst the Japanese market, which we hope will also encourage Japanese businesses and government agencies alike to organize inbound missions into the Philippines. In fact, as of this year, a couple of delegations from Osaka and Kanagawa have already visited the Philippines and met with PSIA members for potential business matching opportunities,” notes Mr. Joey Gurango, President of the PSIA.
“Unlike 5 to 6 years ago, not all Japanese companies who are looking for Philippine based software development and IT service providers ask me about the availability of Nihongo capable Filipino software professionals.  It is very clear that more Japanese companies are now looking for English proficient software and IT talents in the Philippines in order for them to expand their business outside Japan,” says Ms. Tae Abe-Abion, the head of Japan Market Group of PSIA.

On the part of the Philippine Government, Undersecretary Louis Napoleon C. Casambre, Executive Director of the DOST-ICT Office noted that, “It’s gives us great privilege once again to be part of this very important mission to the strategic market that is Japan. We have a rich supply of young, hardworking, and competent Filipino IT professionals who are able to provide a range of world-class IT services in whatever language or domain that clients may require.”
Finally, a recent study from the International Data Corporation (IDC) reveals that Japan originated companies’ (JOCs) IT service spending in Asia Pacific region is expected to grow at CAGR 8% from 2014 to 2017, surpassing the domestic spending growth (1.9%) and average overseas spending growth (5.2%).

More supporters

In the spirit of public-private partnerships, various organizations have also given support to the Philippine Delegation. The ASEAN-JAPAN Centre has been consistently providing its support in arranging business matching meetings and seminar arrangements in Tokyo. The delegation is also supported in this mission by the Information Technology and Business Processing Association of the Philippines (IBPAP). There continues to be very strong government support to this mission, including from the Department of Trade and Industry, through its Philippine Trade and Investment Center in Tokyo led by Commercial Counselor Ma. Bernardita Angara-Mathay, and the Export Management Bureau, as well as the Philippine Embassy in Japan.

Strong government and industry supporters are good indicators of the country’s readiness in pursuing its goal as being Japan’s #1 software solutions and services partner.

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