In Philippines-related business news, the story of ride-hailing service Uber’s misadventure in Southeast Asia is an example of overexerting oneself. The globally-known ride-hailer found itself with stiff competition from local rivals like Grab that had a greater rapport with residents in the region. As everyone in the know recalls, Uber eventually folded from the SEA and sold its regional assets to Grab, entrenching it as the ride-hailing king from Singapore to the Philippines to Cambodia. It seemed that Uber has washed its hands of that part of Asia since then. It turns out that there is still much the area has to offer for them.
ABS-CBN News reports that about a year after their hasty exit from Southeast Asia, ride-hailing giant Uber has found a reason to come back. Just this Thursday, April 4, they celebrated the impending launch of a new back-office support facility here in the Philippines. Located in the province of Pampanga and costing $1.5 million (P78 billion), the office will provide customer service and support for Uber users elsewhere, particularly in Australia and New Zealand where the company, headquartered in San Francisco, had better luck establishing itself. The facility should be operating by end of April.
Strictly speaking, while Uber gave up its dreams of doing business in the Philippines and Southeast Asia back in 2018 its overall presence did not leave the country entirely. The Pampanga back-office facility, located in Clark Global City, is actually the second built. The first office was opened in Taguig back in 2015. They are but two of many facilities in 40 locations around the world that offer customer services to patrons of the Uber ride-hailing platform. Altogether, the company has 30,000 agents spread across its facilities, with the largest concentration of them in the Taguig office with roughly 1,200.
Uber global head of community operations Troy Stevenson notes that the Philippines offers the company and its customers “some of the highest customer satisfaction metric,” along with great service. He adds, “We have access to incredible talent and we serve customers around the world from the Philippines.” At present, the new back-office facility in Pampanga only has 165 customer service representatives, a number Uber hopes to “triple” by the time 2019 comes to an end.
The local site lead Ricco Gamboa noted that their original Taguig operations needed to be expanded as part of a massive expansion for back-office services. The choice of Pampanga for the new facility was made easier due to the ongoing development of the mixed-use development zone in Clark Global City.
Image courtesy of ABS-CBN News