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The Philippine Semiconductor and Electronics Convention and Exhibition (PSECE) is the biggest electronics manufacturing tradeshow in the Philippines. Now on its 14th year, the event last week, held from June 21–23 at the SMX Convention Center in Manila, featured a technical symposium and an exhibition that highlighted the latest developments and capabilities in the country's electronics and semiconductor manufacturing landscape.
One of the exhibitors is Artem Global, a startup electronics manufacturing services (EMS) company that will commence manufacturing operations in August this year.
"Our first products will be motorcycle GPS trackers and soldering stations," said Art Ledonio, managing director. "From PCB assembly to box build, we will also be focusing on turnkey services—that means we will be providing the materials and everything. We will also have our own R&D department."
Why the Philippines? He said there's a lot of advantages here compared to other manufacturing locations in Asia.
"Of course, the number one asset of the Philippines is our people. They can easily understand the processes that will be taught to them. Compared to other countries, the feedback is that Filipino workers are more flexible, more adaptable to different situations in the manufacturing environment, and they are quick learners. The language is also another major advantage," explained Ledonio. "The processes will actually be coming from our customers. We will be transferring the technology, we will make the production process in the Philippines, and we will train Filipino operators [on these processes], who are basically high-school graduate level."
Of course, there are always challenges to overcome. For their part, it’s the material sourcing. "The challenge we have now for is basically the supply chain. In China, you can get lower cost materials—because they have the raw materials. But that’s one challenge that we are overcoming. Little by little, the Philippines is catching up. For example, most of the plastic companies here are can already compete on costs with China plastic manufacturers. But in the case of glass materials, we only have a few glass furnace factories here—so we still import. But the skills are here, and eventually, the Philippines will have its own supply chain."
To address that challenge, Ledonio said they are setting up a China office for sourcing of materials that are not immediately available here in the Philippines.
Overall, Ledonio is bullish of the Philippine electronics manufacturing industry. "With the emergence of IoT [Internet of Things] products, I think, maybe in two years' time, there would be another boom in the electronics industry in the Philippines because of the growing number of IoT products that are being developed right now for the world market. The advantage is our manpower, our workforce."