Local to Global: Internationally Recognized Philippine Companies to Apply to
To some, a sign of a flourishing career is being employed by a major company, and in the Philippines, among the things considered ‘major’ is when a company is reputable overseas
In almost any industry are big companies that rule the roost. Yet, despite their mass revenue and undeniable brand recognition, they all started out smaller, with modest operations and just one or two key offerings to an unfamiliar market. After some time, effort, and a significant time of luck, those are now the companies many of us immediately recognize today.
The Philippines is not short on these types of companies. Many were new as far as a few decades ago, with others having gone through numerous changes before becoming the brands they are today. Be it a Filipino original or founded by an expatriate here in the country, one thing that’s common with these companies is that their growth and renown continue to be earned through the hard work and innovation of the local workforce.
The following are such companies who, apart from being integral in the continued growth of the Philippine economy, are also among those who are widely recognized overseas as they meet international standards, be it in revenue, work culture, or having been able to enter the overseas market.
JG Summit Holdings, Inc. began as Universal Corn Products, Inc., established in 1957 to operate a cornstarch plant in Pasig. Since then, it has become one of the largest conglomerates in the Philippines with business interests in air transportation, banking, food manufacturing, hotels, petrochemicals, power generation, publishing, real estate and property development, and telecommunications.
Among the profitable companies in the country, JG Summit has almost always figured in the top 10 or 20 of the Philippine Stock Exchange, and in 2019 was one of six companies from the Philippines named on Forbes’ 17th Annual Global 2000, an international ranking of the world’s biggest, most powerful, and most valuable publicly-listed companies. The company was also among the 23 local businesses cited as one of the Best Companies to Work For in Asia by international human resources publication HR Asia.
Arguably the name most synonymous with retail or shopping malls in the Philippines, SM is also widely known for its humble beginnings. The company reportedly began when the late Filipino-Chinese business magnate, investor and philanthropist Henry Sy opened the first ‘ShoeMart’ store in Quiapo, Manila in 1958. The company has obviously gone beyond just selling shoes, having diversified and ventured into the supermarket and home appliance store business, and opened its first “supermall”, now SM City North Edsa, in 1985.
Along with its 72 existing, and 20 future, malls in the Philippines, SM has also successfully expanded its business overseas, with 7 SM Malls in China so far. The company expectedly was among those included in Forbes’ Global 2000 list due to its significant revenue and extensive expansions. SM Prime Holdings, the sole operator of the SM Supermalls shopping mall chain, was also included in HR Asia’s Best Companies to Work For In Asia list for the Philippines.
Founded in the Philippines by Domingo Róxas and Antonio de Ayala during the time of Spanish colonial rule, Ayala Corporation is the country's oldest and largest conglomerate. While it had started out as a distillery, the succeeding decades since its founding has seen the company expand to have diverse business interests such retail, education, real estate, banking, telecommunications, and management and business process outsourcing, among others. It ranked 1,236 in the recent Forbes’ Global 2000.
The company was re-confirmed as a constituent of the FTSE4GOOD Index Series, following the June 2019 review of its Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) performance. Developed by London-based global sustainability index provider FTSE Russell, Index Series is designed to help market participants create or assess sustainable investment products, research environmentally and socially sustainable companies, and provide a transparent and evolving global ESG standard on which companies could benchmark their performance.
Established in September 1963, the Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company is comparably among the younger financial institutions in the country, yet is considered the second largest. In its early years, it was among the fastest growing. It opened its first provincial branch in Davao four years after being founded in Manila and, at the onset of the 1970s, opened its first international branch in Taiwan’s capital city, Taipei.
Recently, MetroBank made international news by being among the six Philippine companies to be included in Forbes Global 2000 list, ranked at 1639th. The bank was also recently recognized at this year’s Asian Banker Leadership Achievement Awards, as it was named The Best Managed Bank in the Philippines, an award handed out only once every three years.
Founded in 1989 as Cebu Pan Asian Holdings, Aboitiz Equity Ventures is a holding company based in Cebu City. It is part of Aboitiz and Company, which was originally established in the late 1800s as a hemp trading business in Ormoc, Leyte. Among its most well-known holdings is Aboitiz Power Corporation, which in August 2019, acquired a wind power facility located in the Ninh Thuan province in Vietnam that is valued at US$46 million.
For financial services, AEV is behind Union Bank of the Philippines, which was among the companies named on the Philippine leg of the Best Companies to Work For in Asia by HR Asia. In 2017, it was among the eight companies in the Philippines named in the Forbes Global 2000 list, as well as among those named in the associated World’s Best Employers list.
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