PH among top 5 APEC members to see higher domestic investments – study

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 9) — Most of the country's business leaders plan to invest more at home in the next few months.

This sentiment was the result of an annual study of international audit and consultancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers. It surveyed 1,412 chief executive officers (CEOs) and industry leaders across 21 member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), including the Philippines.

The 2017 APEC CEO Survey was conducted from May 9 to July 14, 2017. Results were released Wednesday, as the APEC Summit kicked off in Vietnam.

Seven in 10 or 73 percent of Philippine CEOs said they expect to raise spending at home in the next 12 months.

The Philippines ranked second among APEC economies where businesses are more likely to raise domestic investments, next to Vietnam and Russia, both at 75 percent.

However, the Philippines is not among the top five choice destinations of foreign investors. The top locations are Vietnam, China, Indonesia, the U.S., and Thailand.

More than half or 51 percent of Philippine CEOs said they also plan to increase investments in other countries, mostly APEC members.

Other APEC economies are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan.

PH CEOs' confidence level high

According to the survey, Philippine CEOs are most confident their business revenues will grow across all APEC member economies in the next 12 months.

Almost half or 49 percent of CEOs in the country said they are "very confident," while 45 percent are "somewhat confident."

These numbers, however, are a big drop from last year's survey results - 65 percent and 31 percent, respectively.

This year, 37 percent of all APEC business leaders surveyed expressed confidence their revenues will rise.

Towards automation

"Over the next three years, Asia Pacific CEOs expect their businesses will become more global and more automated," PricewaterhouseCoopers said.

In the Philippines, 75 percent of CEOs said they are automating certain functions to adapt to the digital age. Only 53 percent of all APEC CEOs said so.

But PricewaterhouseCoopers said automation won't mean a takeover of artificial intelligence.

"In a world where machines can vastly improve upon human productivity in so many logical tasks, non-binary skills like creativity, leadership and empathy will be in demand," the consultancy group said.

In an October 25 statement, Senator Bam Aquino, chairman of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology, said artificial intelligence is expected to affect around 40,000 jobs in the country's business process outsourcing industry next year.

But it will also create up to 300,000 job opportunities for data analysts and programmers, results from a Senate hearing showed.

"The key is to be prepared. We must prepare our workforce through adequate, accessible, affordable training, re-training and education," Aquino said.