Cost and Challenges: The industry of mobile apps development in the Philippines

Mobile applications, or simply “apps”, have become part of daily life. With the advent of several models of smartphones, even those who are on a tight budget can afford to purchase one. This provides a good source of revenue not just for telecommunications companies, but also an opportunity for mobile applications development companies in the Philippines.

“We have been receiving a good number of mobile apps development inquiries since the last quarter of 2013,” said Jose Cris Sotto, Operations Manager of iConcept Global Advertising Inc. However, Sotto noted, “the conversion has remained relatively low.”

The current state of mobile apps development in the country can be attributed to several factors, namely, the lack of viable concept, cost of development, and lack of formal training.

For his part, business development director Marlon Owen Cruz describes the industry as “relatively young compared to its cousin, the web app.”

In the BusinessWorld article entitled “No way but app,” Cruz said that by simply doing a quick search on Google for phrases such as “web development company Philippines” and “mobile app development company Philippines” one will instantly see the huge discrepancy on the number of good results. “(If) you will look for ‘mobile app development company Philippines’ (Google results page) will show only a handful of good companies, and those that follow in subsequent result pages are mostly freelancers.”

“We have observed that the level of enthusiasm of clients in getting this kind of technology is very high at the moment, sometimes reaching the point of getting requirements that are beyond the capabilities of the current tools made available to the app developers,” Sotto said.


Newly offered

Sotto added that the interplay of factors affects the performance of professionals in this field, and later, the industry as a whole.

“If we are going to look into the IT curriculum offered in the Philippines, universities just started to offer mobile applications development courses two or three years ago.”

Cruz hypothesized that “mobile app developers in the Philippines today are mostly self-taught or gained their knowledge and skills from ‘crash course certifications’ offered by a number of technical training centers.”

Sotto mentioned a need to update the curriculum offered. “We can see that the Academe really has to keep abreast with the latest trends in the industry. Offering a curriculum that provides training for the actual technologies that is required by the industry is a must,” he said adding that a strong link between universities and industry leaders can also contribute a “positive effect” in the industry.



“Another potential factor of the slow growth of the app economy is the cost that it entails to develop a mobile application,” Sotto said.

Because of the newness of the mobile app development industry, a very few self-taught mobile applications developers are capable of developing a mobile applications in the Philippines. A considerable amount of time has to be invested on research and development.

“Another thing to consider is the platform. Depending on the available budget, the client may opt to have an application developed for both Android and iOS platforms.”



iConcept Global has been conducting university seminars/workshops about the latest trends in web development and Internet marketing since 2011.

“This activity came as the Management saw that applicants who are mostly fresh graduates are not well-equipped with the expertise required by their job title. Hopefully we can do the same thing to introduce mobile applications development to the future IT professionals,” Sotto concluded.