TOKYO -- Many Filipino children no doubt dream of having their next birthday at a Jollibee. The fast-food chain itself is pursuing bigger, international aspirations.
With around 800 stores in the Philippines, Jollibee Foods has branched out into the U.S., the Middle East, Singapore and Vietnam. Last year, it opened a location in Houston, Texas. The chain's growth follows the trail of the Philippine diaspora. Besides feeding customers, the company has managed to serve up a return on equity of 21.2%.
Jollibee is not the only high-earning Philippine company to set its sights abroad. As part of the English-speaking world, these businesses face no language barrier to overseas expansion.
International Container Terminal Services operates in nearly 20 countries as far afield as Brazil and Nigeria. Manila Water, which runs water and sewer systems in the Philippine capital, has moved into Vietnam and Indonesia. Last month, it positioned itself to help Yangon, Myanmar's most populous city, improve water management.
With so many Filipinos having gone abroad to work, service companies like Jollibee arguably have a lower hurdle to clear in globalizing.