Have you ever thought about starting a business in the Philippines as a foreigner? Of course, the Philippines is a fantastic country to start a business in as a foreigner. Still, one question many entrepreneurs ask is what the best businesses for foreigners in the Philippines are?
In today’s article, we will be covering the top five businesses for foreigners in the Philippines. These businesses have seen an increase in consumers and interest over the years. When looking at the best businesses for foreigners in the Philippines, one thing to remember is your monetization strategy.
Over the years, I’ve spoken to many foreigners who are in the process of setting up a business or have already set up a business in the Philippines. One area that I often first notice is that those who struggle to build their business often do not have the appropriate monetization strategies.
In other words, even though these are some of the best and most popular business ideas for foreigners in the Philippines, the true test of entrepreneurship is management and leadership of the business. With this being said, let’s take a look at the top five business opportunities for foreigners in the Philippines.
Best Business For Foreigners In The Philippines
1. Open A Call Center As A Foreigner Philippines
Over the years, call centers have exploded in popularity all across the Philippines. Statistically, the call center industry is one of the fastest-growing industries in the Philippines. The only real competition from another country aside from the Philippines is India. But now, we see many companies across the world outsourcing to the Philippines.
The forecast for the call center industry, AKA business process outsourcing, looks promising as we look into 2025 and 2030. Due to the ongoing pandemic, many small and large corporations have seen that many business operations can be outsourced.
This is one of the best businesses for foreigners in the Philippines, but one common mistake in the early days of business is trying to please all customers and not specializing in a niche. However, many remote call centers offer all kinds of services in the Philippines, and therefore having a niche can work out very well when tailored with a direct strategy.
2. Start A Beach Resort Or Beach Hostel
Previously we have spoken about how to start a hotel and a hostel business in the Philippines, but why have we chosen beach resorts and beach hostels? In the current market, the industry of hotels has taken a massive hit. Hotels have many drawbacks compared to smaller resorts and hostels.
This is why beach resorts and hostels are often a better idea for foreigners in this current market. There are many rules and regulations regarding ownership of land and business, so you will need to put the land under the business name or under the name of a Filipino.
Many experts in the field believe that the Philippines will become one of the leading Asian countries for tourism in the near future. Currently, many foreigners around the world wish to travel to the Philippines for business and leisure.
One of the reasons why this is a great business is that if you can find the right location, the business can be profitable all year round. As mentioned at the start, what’s most important when foreigners start a business in the Philippines is their monetization strategy of the business.
As a beach resort, you can offer food, drink, long-term stays, short-term stays, entertainment, vehicle hire, water sports, and others.
3. Commercial Real Estate Business As A Foreigner
According to business law in the Philippines, a foreigner can own land through a company. However, legally speaking, the foreigner will not own the land, but he or she will own part of the business, which in turn owns the land. The drawback to this is that the corporation must have at least 60% ownership by Filipinos.
But why is commercial real estate an excellent business for foreigners in the Philippines instead of condominiums? Indeed there are many benefits of owning a condominium in the Philippines as a foreigner, and over the years, some real estate tycoons have earned a lot of cash from real estate in the Philippines.
Commercial property, however, is slightly more diverse, and there are significant benefits for investing in commercial property. For example, when we look to our first best business for foreigners in the Philippines, we come across the industry of call centers, many of which rent commercial properties. So BPO’s are one type of growing business out of many that seek commercial property.
4. Start An Exporting Business In The Philippines
Exporting is a highly lucrative business for foreigners in the Philippines, but this requires a great deal of research and careful planning. The benefit of starting an export business is that as this business gets its cash from overseas, there are certain benefits. Such as the business can be started for a lower financial threshold.
According to the Philippines trade statistics, total exports a few years ago during 2019 reached $70 million. Exported products include semiconductors, electronics, transport equipment, clothes, copper, petroleum, oils, and fruits.
Many natural products are available all across the Philippines for an exceedingly low price. Apart from the list above, a standard exporting product includes coconuts. The great thing about certain products, such as coconuts, is that they have multiple uses.
For example, most parts of the coconut can be used for different types of products, thereby minimizing wastage and maximizing product usage.
5. Become A Travel Content Creator
The final business on a list of best businesses for foreigners in the Philippines involves traveling content creators. Content creating contains many different forms, from blogging to Youtube to podcasting and much more.
On one of my YouTube channels (Owl of Asia), I support foreigners who wish to start a business in the Philippines and live comfortably. In other words, I help with their transition by sharing my knowledge and experience of Asia. But this is one small niche in the travel industry.
Some content creators attach a camera to their bodies and walk around the city, showing foreigners what life is like on the streets. Although this may seem simplistic, it’s often content that the audience wants…. these videos gain thousands of views each day which could generate a great deal of profit.
I mention this because there are many different types of businesses for foreigners in the Philippines around content creating that is not necessarily traditional. My niche on Owl of Asia is moving and living in Asia, but many channels have a larger audience than mine talking about real estate, dating, etc.
Of course, monetization is one of the most important factors when becoming a travel content creator. Earning money from advertising is often the most straightforward form of monetization. Still, if you wish to earn a full-time living, you need to turn a small blog into a business, including introducing new monetization streams.
Tips For Foreign Businesses Philippines
Hire An Attorney As A Foreigner Business Owner
One of the most critical areas when looking at the best businesses for foreigners in the Philippines is the law. The great news is there are plenty of attorneys who specialize in foreign investment and business.
When I was in the process of starting a small call center in the Philippines, there were two pieces of information I knew were 100% correct. However, the first 3 attorneys I visited were not sure about this particular area of law. It was only until I visited the 4th attorney did he know the correct information.
The reason I say this is because hiring an attorney is highly recommended. Finding the right attorney may be challenging, so if you do not have a good feeling, it may be wise to continue your search for an attorney who has a better understanding.
Research Local Laws And Regulations
When starting a business in the Philippines, some general rules and regulations apply to all business owners, but there are industry-related regulations within the industry. This is what this tip is referring to.
For example, suppose you are starting a skincare business in the Philippines. In that case, you will need to obtain FDA clearance to ensure that your product is suitable for the general public and does not contain any hazardous chemicals.
Find Trustable Filipino Business Partners
It is possible to own 100% of the business, but there are many circumstances where owning 100% is not possible. Therefore it’s often wise to find talented and trustworthy Filipino business partners. Networking is one of the best ways to find business partners.
Don’t Copy The Locals
One thing I admire about Filipinos is that they are incredibly intelligent. A mistake I have seen previously is foreigners copying locals. This is not the best idea as it’s often much more manageable for locals to build a successful business if they have the proper financial backing….
…Instead, a better option is to create something in demand but is in short supply in the Philippines. This product or service should be something that can not be easily copied and is scalable.
As a foreigner, you have a unique outlook and business experience from outside of the Philippines, which can build a successful business inside the Philippines.
The Philippines is not so much a developing country as it has been in the last 20 years; however, parts of the Philippines are still developing. Because of this, there is a great deal of opportunity for innovation.
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