Outsourcing Is Reshaping the Philippines' Cities

The ability to outsource all kinds of business processes is creating massive, vertical company towns in the suburbs.
Google

Outsourcing is, in some ways, an old story: Cheap labor pulls in global corporations in search of profits. 

But it's playing out in diverse ways in different countries and industries.

Recently, the creation of what I call cyborg telemarketers drew my attention to the burgeoning call center and outsourcing scene in the Philippines. But the scale of the phenomenon continues to astound me. 

Megaworld, a developer that creates properties for "business process outsourcing" (BPO) companies is investing $5 billion into creating 10 "townships" for these corporations and their workers. 

Those townships will constitute some 16 million new square feet of office space over the next ten years, according to Bloomberg. But the offices are merely the centerpieces of entire planned communities of homes and shops. 

BPO workers need to live close to their offices because they are usually operating on the time of another country, probably one halfway across the world. And the shops they frequent, I assume, must also understand that the place is operating in (at least) two time zones at once. 

Megaworld is following the model set by its development called Eastwood, a 40-acre site eight miles from the center of Manila that draws 100,000 people every day. 

"Megaworld is duplicating Eastwood in six other parts of Manila," Bloomberg reports, "and building other developments in Lapu Lapu, Iloilo and Davao, cities in central and southern Philippines."

The sites will be dense and tall, casting long shadows over the rest of the low-slung Manila suburbs, just like Eastwood does now. 

Who knows what will become of areas like this in 40 years, but for now, they're as distinctive a marker of a certain kind of business (and technical) operation as the smoke stacks of the Rust Belt or the sloped roofs of Pizza Hut.

Presented by

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A Stop-Motion Tour of New York City

A filmmaker animated hundreds of still photographs to create this Big Apple flip book

Video

The Absurd Psychology of Restaurant Menus

Would people eat healthier if celery was called "cool celery?"

Video

This Japanese Inn Has Been Open for 1,300 Years

It's one of the oldest family businesses in the world.

Video

What Happens Inside a Dying Mind?

Science cannot fully explain near-death experiences.

More in Technology

Just In