The history of commercial web development in the Philippines is tied to the growth of the Internet, since before that time their specialization would not have existed. The country first linked to the Internet in 1994 using a countrywide area computer network that was run by the Philippine Network Foundation (PHNET).
The first members of PHNET included the Department of Science and Technology and universities Ateneo de Manila, De La Salle University and the UP Diliman campus. The initial phase of the project interconnected the various members, while the second phase connected the Philippines to the US through the wireless company Sprint.
The creation of the Internet in the country led to the establishment of the first commercial local ISPs in 1995, which included IBM, G-Net of Globe Telecom and Sequel Net of Infocom, and the entry of foreign ISPs such as Pacific Internet and Hong Kong-based Asia Online. By 1997, there was already a growing demand for the services of commercial web developers as there were close to 1,100 ph domain holders and 85,000 Internet users. Meanwhile, many media outlets were already beginning to establish their web presence in the country, including ABS-CBN, GMA-7, the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Businessworld and the Philippine Star.
By 1998, some of the first private website development companies started to be established. The growth of the industry was also supported by educational initiatives such as the University of the Philippines IT Development Center. They offered short and full-time courses in various areas of the information technology field, including database development, game development, business processes and network technology. Other private schools like STI, which started with two schools in 1983 and currently boasts of over 100 campuses nationwide. At present, the web development industry in the country is a flourishing one, attracting clients both locally and from abroad through outsourcing.
Some of the reasons why the country’s web development industry has become popular with outsourcers include:
- Competitive pricing. It is much more affordable to hire Filipino web developers since they charge less than their overseas counterparts while still maintaining a high level of quality for their clients’ projects.
- No culture gap. Filipino web developers are not only fluent in English, they are also able to adjust to the cultures of clients coming from overseas, making them easy to communicate and deal with. This also ensures that projects will run smoothly since developers will have no problem understanding just what the client wants.
- Professional. Local web developers are used to providing quality on a timetable and are willing to work long hours to provide it. Projects will surely be submitted on or before the deadline and to the level of quality demanded by the client.
- Faster turnaround of projects means increased productivity on the part of local web development companies, as they are able to take on more commissions.
- Time zone differences can be maximized as Filipino web developers work while the client is sleeping and then are able to present them with an output they can comment on when they start their working day.