(Photo from the Official Gazette)

A real estate services firm expects Metro Manila to become the third-largest office market in the world, with demand driven by Philippine offshore gaming operators or POGOs that cater to mainland Chinese clients.

David Leechiu of Leechiu Property Consultants said POGOs would require up to 450,000 square meters (sq.m.) of office space by the end of the year, and eclipse demand from business process outsourcing (BPO) companies.

He noted that as of the first semester of 2019, BPO firms required 244,000 sq.m. of new office space, versus the POGOs’ 242,000 sq.m.

“For the first time in 19 years, the BPO sector is going to be No. 2,” Leechiu said in a briefing for analysts and reporters.

POGOs are expected to locate in Ortigas, Pasig and Mandaluyong areas due to the diminishing availability of office spaces in southern Metro Manila.

“Just like the BPO sector, the Chinese, just like the Americans and the Europeans, have discovered that the work ethic of the Filipinos is very good so they are coming here for that,” Leechiu said.

Metro Manila is so far the fourth largest office market in the world after Shanghai, Beijing and Tokyo, with 1.2 million sq.m. occupied in the Philippine capital. (Jojo Mangahis)