Published On: Fri, Dec 6th, 2013

Top 5 Alternative Cities in Asia for Outsourcing

Ever since the financial recession hit the US and the EU, Asia has emerged as the world’s most influential economic powerhouse, with China leading the way and India not too far behind. Southeast Asia is also supporting the continent’s rise, as the region is finally booming once again after the 1997 financial crisis stalled the developing nations’ growth.

photo: photologue_np via Flickr

photo: photologue_np via Flickr

This global economic shift has been turning the heads of many business leaders in the Western hemisphere eastward, looking to outsource jobs from IT to customer service in countries such as India and the Philippines where quality of work is high yet labor is cheap compared to American and European markets.

Cities like Bangalore in India, Manila in the Philippines, and Shanghai in China are some of the top outsourcing destinations with their fairly developed infrastructure and well-educated workforce, but the countries also have alternative choices for businesses who want excellent and affordable labor. Here’s a quick look at five emerging outsourcing cities in Asia.


Located in Maharashtra, the wealthiest state in India, Pune is Mumbai’s neighboring metropolis that has quickly grown to become a hotspot for outsourcing engineering jobs. It boasts of having the most schools in the country with many top universities calling the city their home, earning it the nickname “Oxford of the East.”

Its large student population makes it a prime source for quality labor for many big industries including pharmaceutical and tech. Thanks to the Maharashtra IT policy wherein the state gives incentives to businesses pursuing that particular industry, the city now houses 212 software companies and numerous IT parks.

Cebu City

As the Philippines’ alternative to Manila for its thriving outsourcing development, the capital of the province of Cebu is capturing the attention of more foreign businesses seeking an even cheaper labor source. It may only be second to Manila in terms of the growth of the BPO industry, but the “Queen City of the South” can offer the same level of quality in multiple industries for a lower price.

In the realm of customer service, the city provides everything from technical support to virtual assistant services to telemarketing. Non-voice operations such as work in IT including software development and web-analytics services can also be found here, with more companies offering such services than voice operations.


China’s role as an emergent superpower can be traced back to how it leveraged its massive yet cheap labor to foreign companies looking to outsource. Shenzhen is one of China’s main outsourcing cities, focusing on the IT side of the BPO industry with its superior software development services as the city’s outsourcing foundation.

R&D is another industry for outsourcing opportunity in the city, as evident by its enterprise-oriented technical innovation system that has led to an impressive $4.34 billion in investments back in 2009. One of China’s two stock exchanges can also be found in the city, the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, opening it to financial service outsourcing opportunities as well.

Ho Chi Minh City

Vietnam might not be the immediate country in mind for outsourcing, but its economic growth is supported by its burgeoning BPO industry and its emphasis on software development and testing services for foreign companies.

As the country’s largest city, Ho Chi Minh City has a labor force of around 10 million. Its cultural past as well as its education system has gifted its citizens with competency in three foreign languages – French, English, and numerous Chinese dialects. This helps expand the outsourcing industry’s reach to both its neighbor up north and to businesses based in the west.


The “Tear Drop of India” cannot be overlooked as a country to outsource, as Sri Lanka is growing its IT-BPO industry with about 50,000 employees working in its various sectors. The government also gives incentives to companies in the industry in the form of cash grants and tax benefits in an effort to encourage investment.

Its capital of Colombo has recovered from political and natural disasters, showing an improving infrastructure in its road networks, office space, energy, and communication lines.  English is spoken competently with a 90.7% literacy rate across the island. Labor costs are also low compared to more competitive countries, going as low as 40% cheaper in some cases.

These are just five of the many great outsourcing alternatives in Asia that savvy businessmen should consider if they’re looking to save and maintain the same quality of their business’ output. There are more cities to discover within the region that can provide the right resources for the right price.

Guest Author:

Gabby Roxas is a business writer and content manager for Abler. She also has a background in entrepreneurship, marketing, design and loves to create things related to interior designing.

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