What kind of development does Ayala Land envision for its Canlubang property?
Over the next few years, the BPO demand for work environments is expected to continue to grow significantly.This is being driven by the increase in the global demand for outsourcing as well as a shift in outsourcing work patterns - for example, many voice based processes are finding the Philippines to be a much better first choice than other locations because of the quality and demographics of the manpower pool. To take advantage of this rapid growth in demand, we plan to create many offerings of different types in the immediate term, and we are privileged to have Capmark Asia and Goldman Sachs as partners in this endeavor. The partnership also gives us links into the different markets that our partners originate from,such as financial services, in which there are many outsourcing opportunities
What can be expected for 2007 from this development?
We will launch the master plan for the entire development in the third quarter of 2007, as well as bring to market the first phases of the Canlubang community. The master plan will capture our vision of the community at full build-up: an integrated, mixed use community of the 21st century. At the start of 2007, we were already well underway in putting inplace key infrastructure components such as roads and bridges throughout the development. This infrastructure work will continue throughout 2007. In addition to unveiling the master plan and putting in place key infrastructure, we will also launch in the third quarter of 2007 the first phase of the Canlubang community. This first phase will involve all of our core business lines - residential, office, and retail - simultaneously bringing projects to market.On the residential front, we will launch subdivision projects from each of our three residential brands,Ayala Land Premier, Community Innovations,and Avida. To support the sale of units at these projects and to set the tone for the character ofthe community, we will begin development of a visitor's center that will embody the character ofthe Canlubang community and house the three residential brands' model units and offerings. We will simultaneously launch a BPO campus at the heart of the Canlubang community, which will be supported by a retail component from the AyalaMalls Group. The BPO campus will catalyze development of the Canlubang community as an IT/ITenabledservices hub of southern Luzon.
How does Ayala Land see the Philippine residential market developing?
There are two continuing trends that suggest that the market for residential developments in the Philippines will continue togrow in the years ahead. Domestically, low interest rates and the attractive amortization terms being offered by banks are bringing first-time homebuyers to market. This has driven local demand across all three market segments we are present in. In addition, the overseas-based Filipino market looking to purchase property in the country continues to grow. Those who migrated to the U.S. and other places in the '80s and '90s are now at the stage in their lives wherein they are looking either to come home to the Philippines or to purchase property as a vacation/secondary home. These overseas-based Filipinos have a greater desire to invest inthe country because of the recent period of economic and politicalstability. The confluence of these factors suggests continued growth in the residential market.The other significant trend that we see continuing is that buyers are becoming more discerning in their residential purchases. Customers are demanding more in terms of features and amenities than in the past. We are also seeing our buyers increasingly looking beyond the physical product - now a good number ofthem see property and tenancy management services as a keyvalue-adding component of the purchase. In addition, customers are also more willing to explore new geographies, with a significant proportion making leisure, secondary,or even primary home purchases in areas like Morong (Bataan) or Calamba, which would previously have been considered too distant from Metro Manila. Fortunately for Ayala Land, these market developments play to our strengths. Across the three market segments, we have a complete range of offerings at competitive price points and invarious locations, configured to suit different needs and requirements. In terms of the overseas-based Filipino market, we are similarly well-positioned. Since these buyers do not have theluxury of experiencing various residential offerings first-hand, thebrand equity that we have worked hard to build will go a longway in capturing a larger share of this market. Our buyers, both here and abroad, know that Ayala Land will deliver on its promises, always remaining true to our values of integrity, reliability, and commitment.
What is unique about Ayala Land's approach to the BPO-generated demand for office space?
We do not see BPO companies as requiring simply office space. We see them as requiring totally new and different working environments, ones in which theiremployees can do many different things at the same time and in the same place, at the quality levels they demand. This is, we feel, a function of the nature oftheir work, which is fast-paced, technology-intensive, brainpower-dependent, process-diverse, and of course 24 X 7, which makes time more valuable. As such, BPO firms need a range of options for work environments,all of which must make their people comfortable,their clients confident, and their costs efficient. To that extent we have created a range of choices, covering stand-alone, build-to-suit office buildings, to entire self-contained campuses, to integrated nodes within our other large mixed-use developments, all of which have the technological infrastructure needed to support the business while offering easy access to the lifestyle support systems necessary to keep their employees at peak performance. We are especially excited about the two BPO campuses that we will be developing in the north of Metro Manila and the south. We feel that boththe U.P. North Science and Technology Park in QuezonCity and the BPO/IT campus that will rise in Canlubang will address the multi-functional needs of our BPO clients, in ways that leverage our traditional strengthsin mixed-use development and property management.
How is Ayala Land tapping the various opportunities in the residential market?
We've worked hard in recent years to raise the bar indeveloping residential products that are compelling inthe eyes of our customers. This has meant, first and foremost,that we try to better understand the unique needsof each of the customer segments that we are targeting.This sharper focus on the customer has changed the way we design and build our residential products - and is on display in our newest offerings. In The Residences at Greenbelt, for example, we realized that the "discriminating affluent" target market of Ayala Land Premier places a premium on exclusivity and choice. As such, we incorporated this understanding into the product design. The amenities in The Residences at Greenbelt go far beyond the standard high-end offering of an attractive lobby. For example, residents will have a number of different, specialized fitness centers to choose from throughout the building. There is not only a large,first-class fitness center, but also a number of smaller, specialized gyms in each of the three towers offering pilates, yoga, dance, and other fitness options. This ensures that our buyers have the exclusivity and range of choices they are looking for. Community Innovations, the brand that targets urban achievers, has similarly done a lot to incorporate better understanding of this target segment into its latest offerings. Our research found that this segment might have the disposable income to upgrade their units and would want to do so in a way that uniquely expresses themselves, but might not necessarily have the free time to customize their unit on their own. To meet this customer need, Community Innovations created its iDesign program, which allows buyers to easily customize their unit with a host of possible combinations in terms of finishes, materials, and fixtures - taken together, about 10,000 possible permutations are available to the buyer. At the same time, we've broadened the effort to better know our customer groups to also look at services and processes - the first because service is becoming an increasingly important component of the product offering, the second because we want to continue improving the experience of acquiring and owning an Ayala Land property.
How has Ayala Land been able to grow its sales to the overseas-based Filipino market?
With the continued growth of the Philippine diaspora around the world, we have made a concerted effort in recent years to better understand the needs of this overseas based Filipino segment. What we quickly realized was that this is not a monolithic, homogenous market - Filipinos now based in the U.S., for example, have different needs and wants in their residential purchases than Filipinos working in, say, the U.K. or in Italy. As such, we are fully cognizant that our approach to tap these various markets all across the globe needs to be just as differentiated. Our goal has always been to create a sustainable presence in those overseas markets with a substantial Filipino population. We hope to achieve this through developing various types of distribution networks that enable overseas-based customers to interface face-to-face withsales agents or brokers in those areas. As such, Avida established representative offices in Rome and Milan in Italy and in Dubai. In the U.S., we have developed partnerships with brokers based in our target areas, as they have first-hand knowledge of the unique needs and preferences of Filipinos who are based there. In both cases, we have had to make sure that the infrastructure to support these international sales efforts is in place, such as websites that are easy to navigate or phone-in hotlines where customers or brokers can direct property-specificinquiries. What we are quickly realizing is that the challenge in meeting the needs of overseas-based Filipinos is that they are becoming more and more attuned to high-quality residential developments and the latest trends from around the world. As such, we will have to up the game in terms of creating compelling products to keep pace with the expectationsof both our domestic and overseas-based customers. Fortunately, this plays to one of our main strengths as a company: developing best-in-class and innovative products that exceed the expectations of our customers.