The Philippines the best place to invest in Asia: DFNN’s Ramon Garcia

DFNN’s Executive Chairman and Founder, Ramon Garcia Jr. says that there is no better market for investment than the Philippines, as government policy shifts to attract more investment and political stability allows for confidence in the economy. While some issues linked to gaming, such as the illegal markets still provide challenges, finding the right local partner and learning the nuances will prove invaluable in the long term.

Here are some of the highlights:

01:30 – DFNN is a start-up, overview of the company profile: tech company.

03:53 – Garcia has extensive background in capital markets. Philippines growth saw highest GDP growth in Asia. Second-largest investor in airports after South Korea. Economy blessed by a demographic bounty – by 2040 will be 150 million people. Philippines is excellent investment destination.

05:45 – Major companies have announced huge capex investments in their operations. Regional cooperation agreements being inked. Philippines is now the second most politically stable country in Asia.

08:09 – New tax incentives cover gaming, IT and tourism industries. Overwhelming majority in government now.

09:50 – Two types of gaming investors: those who are superficial, and quiet insider revolution. Illegal market is many times the size of the legal market, also given that PAGCOR can’t prosecute by itself. Philippines is moving towards a regulated market. PAGCOR board has diverse backgrounds. Hurdles include taxation. Country is improving ability of allowing foreigners to stay.

12:30 – Many have relocated regional headquarters of gaming to Manila – from Singapore, from Macau. Good domestic market, welcoming country, culture has no negative word for ‘foreigner’. Initial views are that POGO industry is China-centric.

14:41 – 60 percent of a gaming company in the Philippines must be locally owned. Play the long game in the Philippines. Choose your partners wisely.

16:35 – Main issues with POGOs were being a new industry, rules and regulations continue to develop. Philippines is at the sweet-spot of geo-political value – China, Japan, US, Europe are looking to the country.

Audience questions

18:58 – Philippines can now provide a lot more guarantees for investors. Regional partners don’t have dissimilar problems. Philippines is third-largest English-speaking country in the world, so bad news spreads quickly.

The Philippine system is the only country in Southeast Asia where the airspace is civilian. Have checks and balances, Philippines has a democratic system.

21:10 – The government is listening and responding to the needs of businesspeople. Some 70 percent of the State of the Nation address was about using tech to improve people’s lives. Looking at changing taxation issues, changing clauses to match today’s reality.

22:50 – No better as a small company to go than the Philippines. Some unicorns have come up, like GCash. Get a reputable, good lawyer. Look for a reputable Philippine partner than can help guide you through. There are nuances that a Philippine partner can bring to your business relationship.