Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc (MUFG) Managing Director and Country Head for the Philippines Yuichi Yamagishi bared some thoughts about Japanese investments in a press conference recently. Yamagishi revealed that Japanese companies are focusing on retail, real estate, fast food, and infrastructure for investments.
Statements from President Rodrigo Duterte in speeches made during his visit to Japan earlier this year confirm this. “Japan has been a major source of foreign direct investments and a key trading partner of the Philippines…” the President said. In the 2nd quarter of 2019 alone, Japan was the second top foreign investor in the Philippines with Php4b or $7.8m in total approved foreign investments.
The Philippines enjoyed an influx of Japanese restaurants in the past few years and they’re not just Japanese traditional fare either. The biggest Japanese-owned burger chain Mos Burger is slated to open its doors in 2020.
Meanwhile, Mitsukoshi Mall expected to open in 2021. Mitsukoshi Mall is a giant in retail as well as Japan’s oldest grocery. The Philippine branch will be the first in Southeast Asia, following branches in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Europe, and North America.
Despite their optimism, Japanese business leaders expect the Philippines Peso to depreciate in the coming years due to importation of construction materials for the government’s Build Build Build initiative.
Deeper concerns about taxes arise however. Security Bank Corp. Alliance Segment Head Takahiro Onishi says “They are not entirely sure about the policy stance of the Philippine government. Do they actually want foreign companies to come in to invest or are they prioritizing local companies to prosper instead of inviting more investments?”. This is in reference to the CITIRA Bill or House Bill 4157 which would gradually lower corporate taxes by 10% but remove some tax incentives corporations currently enjoy.
Still, Filipinos can expect more Japanese products in the coming years. Tell us what Japanese products you’d like to see in stores at the comments section!