Geographies in Depth

The Philippines’ first unicorn is taking pop-up housing to a new level

The Philippine national flag is drenched in rainwater before it is raised during celebrations for the 150th birth anniversary of Philippine national hero Jose Rizal at the Rizal Park in Manila June 19, 2011. REUTERS/Cheryl Ravelo (PHILIPPINES - Tags: ANNIVERSARY SOCIETY) - GM1E76J0VRO01

The flat-pack housing founder took inspiration from Uber and AirBnB. Image: REUTERS/Cheryl Ravelo

Emma Charlton
Senior Writer, Forum Agenda
Share:
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Geographies in Depth?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how ASEAN is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:

ASEAN

This article is part of: World Economic Forum on ASEAN

Imagine if you could select your home from a catalogue and have it delivered, in the same way you’d choose a sofa from Ikea.

A start-up in the Philippines is planning to make that a worldwide reality, after a finance round last year valued the company at more than $1 billion. Revolution Precrafted is the brainchild of real-estate developer Robbie Antonio, who says he conceived the idea of a pre-fabricated home business by taking inspiration from disruptive, asset-light technology companies like Uber and Airbnb.

Image: Revolution Precrafted

His vision resulted in the first unicorn for the Philippines. In Asia, unicorns have tended to emerge out of China and India, with Beijing creating 29 unicorns since 2012 and Shanghai spawning 11, according to data compiled by CB Insights. According to International Monetary Fund statistics the Philippines is the 13th largest economy in Asia and the 3rd largest in the ASEAN after Indonesia and Thailand.

As well as marking a milestone for the Philippines with its rapid growth, these homes that snap together almost as easily as Lego bricks may offer an innovative approach to the challenge of housing Asia’s booming population. Antonio told CNBC he wants to be shipping to 85 countries by 2020 and aims to grow revenues “north of several billion dollars”.

Image: Revolution Precrafted

The homes, which offer energy efficiency and faster construction time compared to non-prefabricated homes, are cheaper per square meter, and are increasing in popularity, according to the company.

Image: Revolution Precrafted

The idea certainly seems appealing to sector specialists, with Zaha Hadid, David Salle, Tom Dixon and Marcel Wanders all signing up to conceive the prefab structures, while Singapore’s K2, founded by venture capitalist Ozi Amanat, is reported to have invested.

Have you read?

And with the company signing a $3.2 billion deal to manufacture apartments and hotel villas in Dubai, it seems like Ikea for housing may become a reality just as quickly as the Philippines grew its first unicorn.

The World Economic Forum on ASEAN is taking place in Ha Noi, Viet Nam from 11-13 September 2018.

Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Related topics:
Geographies in DepthNature and BiodiversityUrban Transformation
Share:
World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

Digital public infrastructure is transforming lives in Pakistan. Here's how 

Tariq Malik and Prerna Saxena

July 12, 2024

About Us

Events

Media

Partners & Members

  • Sign in
  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum