For the last six years in a row, Korea has been the Philippines top international tourist generating market. In 2006, Koreans took the number one spot both in tourist arrivals and foreign investment in the Philippines. By 2015, more and more top Korean businesses are looking at the Philippines as a viable place to distribute their products.
The strategic location of the Philippines as well as its manpower makes it one of the best destinations for Korean businesses. With this, around 250 large factories in special economic zones in the Philippines are Korean-owned. Koreans are also among the top investors in the tourism industry.
It is estimated that there are now over 100,000 Koreans living here also, each of whom are estimated to spend an average of $800-$1000 per month, which adds up to almost $1 billion in consumer spending each year.
Fashion and Food Retail Market
Recently, top Korean food retailers are looking for Filipino partners for the distribution of their products here as well as for the import of locally-produced goods. Firms are interested to know more about the Philippine market so that they can work with the locality. Other than food, fashion brands are also brought to the country by some of the leading retail investment corporations such as SM Investment Corp., The Bench Group, as well as the Robinsons Specialty Stores, Inc. Such corporations are familiar among urban Filipino shoppers. There are existing Korean manufacturers in the Philippines, even in niche areas such as high-value garments.
Expansion of Korean Companies and Retail Businesses
There are also Korean companies that are keen on expanding to the Philippines. Such companies are engaged in the production of semiconductors and displays, automotive assembly, steel manufacturing and shipbuilding. Such companies are being invited to locate in the operating economic zones such as Clark, Pampanga and Subic Bay Freeport Zone. Retailing business are keen on catching the eye of the urban residents in big cities such as Cebu, Baguio and Manila.
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