Davao BPO firms, JICA may tie up for Japanese training

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CALL CENTER employees at work at the Six Eleven Global Services, one of the business process outsourcing firms in Davao City. — LEAN S. DAVAL, JR.

DAVAO CITY — ICT-Davao, Inc., an industry association for information and communication technology firms, is in discussions with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for a Japanese-language training facility for business process outsourcing (BPO) workers.

ICT-Davao President Samuel R. Matunog said the prospective tieup will develop talent that will make investing in the BPO sector more attractive.

Mr. Matunog said an ICT-Davao delegation will also visit Beijing and northeastern China next year to observe Chinese training methods for workers serving Japanese, English and Spanish-speaking markets.

“We want to see how they are doing it…. If the Chinese can do it, why not here in Davao? Most of the outsourcing for the Japanese market is captured by China because all their speakers there are capable of sounding like natives,” Mr. Matunog said in a media forum.

He added that ICT-Davao is looking at addressing challenges in the industry relating to artificial intelligence, robotics, and increasing competition from other countries.

“That is why we are trying to push the private and public education sector to also improve their curriculum, train their faculty, so that graduates are better-equipped to land jobs in this industry,” he said.

ICT-Davao hopes to have a work force of 70,000 by 2020, from the current 50,000.

Mr. Matunog said the majority of the ICT workers in the region are still call center-based, but it hopes that the number will expand to other technology sectors.

ICT-Davao is hosting an innovation summit called 2018 LivEx and Innovation Summit on Oct. 19-20 to showcase Davao’s offerings for start-ups and digital innovation.

“Initial areas we are looking at are those who are using technology for their social enterprises and also those who are into financial technology and e-payments as well as e-health, e-logistics, and public sector digital innovations,” Mr. Matunog said.

Among the expected participants are delegates from the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA).

“What we are trying to do is not just to showcase innovations that are developing in Davao, we also want to bring other parts of Mindanao and BIMP-EAGA so that Davao innovators will be able to compare what they are doing with their counterparts,” he said. — Maya M. Padillo