A VIETNAMESE software development firm has expanded its operations to Cebu.

FPT Software opened last Friday its first development center in the Philippines in Ebloc 3 of the Cebu IT Park with an initial head count of 62 software engineers.

“We are very delighted to have the Philippines in our globalization strategy...Placing an office in the Philippines is an important step of FPT Software’s Asean expansion strategy, and Cebu is the forerunner in this game. We aim to make FPT the leader of Asean in the global IT World Cup,” said Hoang Nam Tien, FPT Software chairman. (Asean stands for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.)

FPT is the largest Vietnamese IT company and ranked ninth in the Forbes Top 50 listed companies there. It operates in 19 countries and reported its latest revenue at US$1.65 billion.

The new center, according to the company, will help fulfill its global strategy and continuous growth, and is part of a drive to have 30,000 employees by 2020.

“With the right people, right place, right time setting up, our office in Cebu has been extremely fast and smooth. We already have a spacious office, a strong management team and have also transferred some important projects to Cebu,” Tien said.

Promising

FPT Software Philippines targets to add 200 software engineers to its resource pool by the end of this year. By 2020, the company hopes to employ 2,000 workers in the Philippines.

The Philippines is considered a promising destination for the software industry due to its number of IT and engineering graduates, as well as employees trained in the business process outsourcing-information technology-knowledge process outsourcing (BPO-IT-KPO) sector. Workers’ good command of English, high productivity, efficient support from the government and favorable conditions regarding IT infrastructure were also cited in its favor.

“Filipinos’ excellent English communication skills, right work attitude and impressive technical skills, specifically on software development, on top of your inherent warm hospitality, are some of the factors that made us choose to expand operations in the Philippines,” said Tien.

“Cebu is just the starting point. We will be closely looking at other key cities for future expansions.”

FPT Software Philippines leased a 600-square-meter area in EBloc 3 with an initial capacity of 120 seats to run the daytime operations. The firm is also looking at bringing their BPO services here.

Job prospects

Government and private officials welcomed FPT Software’s entry to Cebu, saying that their presence is a big boost to Cebu’s growing BPO-IT-KPO industry.

“FPT’s expansion here is an Asean integration in the making,” said Ezekiel Sarcauga, officer-in-charge of the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) 7.

President Greg Gabison of the Cebu Educational Development Foundation for Information Technology (Cedf-IT) said FPT’s presence is a welcome development as it will help strengthen Cebu’s footing in the KPO industry.

“This high-value outsourcing industry opens opportunities for our computer science and IT graduates,” said Gabison, adding that Cedf-IT was instrumental in bringing FPT to Cebu.

Annually, Cebu produces around 3,500 IT graduates. Some 30-40 percent land in IT companies, while the rest take on call center or technical support jobs.

FPT Software is also introducing its new development center in Myanmar, which is expected to be opened in June 2015. These new grounds are expected to be “a backyard” of Vietnam to help FPT Software better meet the growing demands for software globally, the company said in its website.