According to Sam Christopher Lim, president of the Philippine Franchise Association (PFA), at least 50 next-generation Filipino brands are expected to enter 50 overseas markets over the next two years.
“We are aiming for 50 market entries during my tenure,” Lim said in an interview at Franchise Asia Philippines Expo 22 at the SMX Convention Center, where 500 brands are participating, more than 40% of which are new concepts.
Lim said “50 market entries” could mean one brand entering 50 countries or 50 brands entering one country. “At least we have 50 Filipino brands,” he said.
According to Lim, they have already identified some next-gen brands that are already set to make their international debut in two years and some PFA member companies that are to make an overseas foray. Most of these brands are in the food business.
Priority markets are the United States, Canada and the Middle East, as these are usually the first markets that most brands turn to. “But there are also great opportunities for growth in our ASEAN neighbors, particularly Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia,” he added.
“A lot of our brands are even bigger than the ones trying to enter our country,” Lim said.
Being part of the 50 brands means that they have already fine-tuned their franchise system locally and are therefore ready to go international. Second, their concept must be adaptable to other markets. And third, a clear vision from the owners for growth and a commitment to truly expanding internationally.
So far, Lim said there are over 25 global Filipino brands with a mix of franchisees and businesses. “But most brands’ priority is to grow using franchising because they are able to grow using other people’s money, time and networks,” he said.
Lim explained that they have learned over the past two years the importance of diversification. “To be truly resilient, we need to be in multiple places and multiple countries,” he said.
With this, the PFA has encouraged local brands to expand not only locally, but also internationally. He noted that having the most innovative companies with strong franchise systems, “We believe we can have more global Filipino brands.”
Lim said Jollibee and Potato Corner led the way, but he foresees the next generation of brands such as “Bang Bang Bangus”, which wants to globalize milkfish.
There are also coffee brands like “Bo’s Coffee” that are expanding into new markets, as well as mango and dessert concepts that can take hold in international markets.
“Beyond food, we have beauty brands such as Hello Gorgeous, a former NxtGen winner entering the US, and other service brands that are eyeing international growth,” he added.
To bring these brands overseas, Lim said the PFA has a two-pronged strategy: empower and connect.
To build their capacity, he said, they need to educate more brands about preparing their systems internationally. That’s why the PFA is working with the Asia-Pacific Franchise Confederation to host webinars on how to enter the various Asia-Pacific markets.
To be able to connect, PFA, the Department of Trade and Industry and the Philippine Trade and Investment Center visit exhibitions and organize business matchmaking sessions in various markets to help Filipino brands meet the good partners.
Additionally, Lim pointed out that domestic brands need government support, citing the governments of Malaysia, Taiwan, Korea and Thailand investing heavily in supporting franchise brands to expand internationally.
In fact, he pointed out that the just-concluded Franchise Asia Philippines Expo brought together large brand delegations from Taiwan, Korea and Malaysia who are supported both financially and with on-the-ground support by their governments.
“It’s because they know that franchising is not about exporting individual products, but about exporting entire business models, exporting culture, and exporting a complete collection of products and raw materials to new markets” , he explained.
“In order for us to have more globally competitive Philippine franchise brands, we need financial support from the government so that we can have a greater impact in the various international franchise shows and lower the barrier of entry. for our MSMEs.”
For 2023, the PFA has won bids from 40 countries to host the Global Franchise Council meeting. “It would be a great venue to really showcase the strength of Filipino brands and the Filipino franchise industry,” he said.
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