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PFA wants to double local brands going overseas in next two years

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By Arra B. Francia, Reporter

THE PHILIPPINE Franchise Association (PFA) looks to double the number of Filipino brands overseas in the next two years, initially focusing on countries with large Filipino populations.

“Our goal in PFA, I think we have about 30 or 40 brands abroad, we want to double that in the next two years… We will be doubling the Filipino brands going abroad,” PFA Director and Chairman for the Asean Integration Committee Sam Christopher Lim told reporters on the sidelines of the Franchise Asia Philippines 2018 International Conference in Pasay City yesterday.

Mr. Lim noted that delegates from around 40 countries are participating in the Franchise Asia 2018 conference that will run until July 22 at the SMX Convention Center in the Mall of Asia Complex. Most of the international delegates come from Singapore, Malaysia, and other Asean countries, with a number coming from Europe, the United States, and the Middle East.

“We host them, we do business matching. Because we want to spur. For us to grow, we need more of our brands coming in,” he said, explaining that Filipino firms would have to expand outside the country since more international brands are competing with them here.

The overseas expansion of the local franchise industry is part of the PFA’s goal to grow by 15-20% in terms of revenues by this year, which would bring the sector’s 2018 revenues to P1.15 trillion or $21.72 billion. The Franchise Asia 2018 conference alone is expected to generate $3 billion in investments.

There are currently around 2,000 local and international franchise brands in the country, with 200,000 stores and around 1.2 million employees.

More brands are looking at countries with large Filipino populations such as the United States and the Middle East, as they are being used as “jump-off points” toward attracting locals.

“They use the Filipinos as a first jump-off point, but eventually you target the locals. Because even if you have a million Filipinos, that’s still small compared to the locals. Ang maganda (The good thing) with the Philippine brands right now is before, when you expand you only look at Filipinos, ngayon (now) more and more people looking at the mainstream,” Mr. Lim explained.

He cited Jollibee Foods Corp.’s expansion in Vietnam, where the company now operates around 100 stores even without a large Filipino population.

Food brands such as Jollibee and Potato Corner are leading the way in terms of expanding abroad, with Turks Shawarma also planning to put up sites in the United States, Hong Kong, and Indonesia.

Fashion brands Bench and Penshoppe are also aggressively expanding abroad, while services in the beauty care and aesthetics sector are seen to have the potential of expanding outside the country.