Tips for Doing Business in Baguio City
Here is the second part of the different areas of economic activity that one can explore in the Summer Capital of the Philippines.
This section will deal with service providers, medical services, retirement communities, retail sales, small businesses, advertising, marketing and promotions.
Economic Areas of Activity to Explore
Call Centers, Business Process Outsourcing companies are setting up at the PEZA, sometimes called BEPZ. Then there are the smaller companies such a medical transcription services and other computer communication centers that are strewn all over the city. The Summer Capital is attractive to these types of businesses because of the many graduates the city produces every semester.
Although the city is considered to have very good hospitals in Baguio General Hospital, SLU Hospital, Baguio Medical Center, and the recently re-opened Notre Dame Hospital, one of the greatest demands of the city is for hospitals as a venue for the hordes of nursing students and graduates to receive their practical training.
And while there exist dialysis centers and other clinics, a lot of other medical services such as lasik eye vision correction or cosmetic surgery are done in Manila.
There have been only a few retirement communities set up in the Summer Capital of the Philippines because the climate and terrain are NOT particularly suited to this type of business, although it has been mentioned earlier that the city has very good hospitals available.
First the climate -- it gets too chilly for many folks here, especially the older generations who prefer warmer temperatures. Because of the altitude, some folks also experience respiratory problems. As for the terrain, there are very few flat lands or properties suitable for single-storey dwellings that characterize retirement homes.
However, retirement communities can be set up in the suburbs like Tuba or Sablan where the termperatures are higher.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Doing Business in Baguio City
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As mentioned before, information on the demographics of the city, as well as requirements for setting up businesses should be available at City Hall.
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The resident population is a low income population because the wages here are lower than in other cities and many are unemployed, as Baguio creates more diploma holders than jobs. The transient student population likewise does not have a large spending capacity. Thus suppliers of basic needs do well, while specialty stores that cater to the tourist crowd, generally, enjoy brisk business during the high season for visitors.
A lot of businesses in the Central Business District engage in retail trade: clothing shops, souvenir stalls, bargain second hand stores (ukay ukay), groceries, hardware stores, drug stores.
The city has many laundry shops, car wash services, cheap eateries, water refilling stations, water delivery services, second hand cell phone shops, internet shops, hawker stands and food stalls to serve the residents. Thus these areas are already saturated and are not recommended businesses for new investors.
Advertising, Marketing & Promotions
This is a broad area that requires much discussion. It is included here because it must be noted that since it is a small town, most advertisements are done through the weekly papers and through radio stations with maximum impact, so there is a limited market for this type of service. The larger companies are usually just provincial branches and their collateral materials and marketing campaigns designed right along with the mother company's elsewhere, more often than not, in Manila. However, sophisticated advertising or marketing measures are alien to the city and, given the right approach (and pricing) some local business may just hire such services.
There you have it then, my 2 cents' worth, culled from 20 years of living and working here. I hope this information is helpful in deciding whether or not you want to invest in the Summer Capital of the Philippines.