Singapore's food and lifestyle firms woo Filipinos

President Halimah Yacob interacting with staff from food and beverage brand Collin's at Singaporium, a consumer and lifestyle pop-up in Manila. She was accompanied by her husband, Mr Mohamed Abdullah Alhabshee (second from right). ST PHOTO: SUE-ANN T
President Halimah Yacob interacting with staff from food and beverage brand Collin's at Singaporium, a consumer and lifestyle pop-up in Manila. She was accompanied by her husband, Mr Mohamed Abdullah Alhabshee (second from right). ST PHOTO: SUE-ANN TAN

MANILA • Singapore lifestyle, food and consumer firms have a chance to explore the Philippine market at a pop-up in Manila this week.

Singaporium, a lifestyle and food pop-up held by Enterprise Singapore, aims to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with their internationalisation plans by giving them the opportunity to test the market response to their products.

Seventeen companies, including game cafe chain Playnation, SF Group (Collin's), YHS International (Yeo's) and Wok Hey, are showcasing and selling their products at the pop-up which runs till the end of the week at The Podium Mall.

President Halimah Yacob toured Singaporium yesterday.

In her speech later at the 14th Philippines-Singapore Business Council meeting, Madam Halimah said: "(Our) strong economic cooperation is also facilitated by the close people-to-people links between our two countries.

"For instance, our shared passion for food and fashion presents opportunities for both our small and medium-sized enterprises... I was heartened to learn that their products and concepts were well-received by the Filipino consumers."

Enterprise Singapore assistant chief executive Tan Soon Kim said: "The Philippines is one of the fastest-growing economies in Asia, and has achieved consistent and healthy gross domestic product growth of over 6 per cent in the last few years. It has strong fundamentals that make it an attractive investment destination.

"In particular, we find strong potential in the areas of the consumer sector and infrastructure, and emerging areas such as digital economy and agriculture."

He also pointed out that the Philippines is one of the largest growing consumer markets in South-east Asia, with a population of 107 million, which increases by two million every year.

 
 
 

"With its growing consumer class... the demand for quality and greater variety of products is increasing," he said.

Mr Collin Ho, founder and chief executive of food and beverage brand Collin's, said Filipino consumers have an affinity for Western cuisines, which makes their country a potential place for expansion.

"Various issues such as time management and logistics planning have to be factored into our considerations more deeply and carefully. But it is a huge country with massive potential, one in which we are very excited to explore and venture further," he said.

Collin's has more than 300 employees at 25 outlets across Singapore. It also has outlets in Indonesia, Cambodia and China.

Madam Halimah also witnessed the opening of The Podium, a joint project between Keppel Land and BDO Unibank, a member of Philippine conglomerate SM Group. The project is an office and retail mixed-use development.

Keppel Land chief executive Tan Swee Yiow said: "The Podium is a landmark commercial development that hosts multinational companies and retail tenants and its successful completion is a testament of the strong relationships, network and execution capabilities that we have built up over the years."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 11, 2019, with the headline 'Singapore's food and lifestyle firms woo Filipinos'. Print Edition | Subscribe