Pakistani IT industry hits the top
In 2010, the IT industry emerged successful after fighting the unprecedented recession of 2008. Revival of business activity kickstarted with money pumped in by investors the world over. The IT industry in developed world economies and in India, has reached a saturation point. In contrast, the the industry of Pakistan is growing in double digits. Despite domestic and international challenges, Pakistan’s information technology industry has recorded steady growth with key support from talented human resource and entrepreneurship.
International customers have started investing in balancing, maturing and replacing their systems and software, which has helped the local industry to attain stability. The IT sector has been growing at 15 percent to 20 percent over the last three years. Growth in 2011 was about 15 percent and the year was regarded as a ‘golden year’ for the IT sector in Pakistan.
According to a formal study conducted by the Pakistan Software Export Board, 2011’s IT exports stood at about $560 million, mainly representing revenues from It-enabled services. These optimistic estimates could up to as high as $860 million.
The country’s talented workforce and rapidly growing entrepreneurship trends are said to be the driving forces of industrial growth. As Wahaj us Siraj, Convener of the Internet Service Providers Association of Pakistan (Ispak), puts it, “Pakistan’s talent pool and entrepreneurship are primarily causing this growth.”
As a matter of fact, a lot of young professionals, who started their businesses individually, are now operating their own companies with 200 to 500 employees. This professional talent is recognized by leading global players like Microsoft, expanding their offshore business processing and business process outsourcing, particularly in Pakistan. Microsoft recently launched the MS Customer Immersion Experience facility in Karachi with an investment of over $1 million.
According to Sayed Hashish, Microsoft’s General Manager, “Pakistanis account for 40 percent of total software development in North Africa, East Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Africa.” A number of applications for Windows Phone came from Pakistani IT students even before its launch, which indicates the strength of talent the country has.
For 2012, the growth prospects are aimed beyond 20 percent if the country performs better at producing quality professionals. State Bank of Pakistan’s annual report suggests that the IT sector also posted rapid growth on the back of growing demand for automation in domestic businesses. In addition, demand for business outsourcing in developing countries led the way for rapid growth in IT exports, such as call centre services and software development. It points out that Pakistan’s lower cost of labour, land and tariff exemption on IT exports gives the sector an advantage over other competitors.
To benefit the country through IT on a large scale, agricultural extension departments and commodity procurement agencies need to digitalize their operations to contain crop diseases, improve soil fertility and increase per acre yields of food staples. Part of the foreign investment that has been lined up for the agricultural sector could be used in these areas. For this purpose, there is a need to develop effective models of public-private partnerships.
However, while the prospects for 2012 look great, it was 2011 that can so far be termed as a golden year in Pakistan’s Information and Technology industry with lots of unprecedented achievements, solid developments and emerging potential which builds a strong hope for the bright future of the country.
Here are highlights of Pakistan’s major achievement in 2011:
Pakistan Fast Growth 25
Pakistan Fast Growth 25, a ranking of fast growth entrepreneurial companies, listed 10 IT companies on its index for the first time, gaining recognition at national level. The Pakistan Fast Growth 25 is a program of the Allworld Network in partnership with Harvard Business School’s Professor Michael Porter and was launched in collaboration with JS Bank Limited.
Official Game for ICC 2011 Cricket World Cup
Pakistani games development company, Mindstorm Studios successfully developed the “Official Game” for the ICC 2011 Cricket World Cup, the most advanced 3D browser cricket game developed to date.
Pak-india ICT firms vow to enhance trade up to $5 billion
Pakistani and Indian IT committee of ‘Aman Ki Asha’ successfully held bilateral talks on both sides of the border, aimed at enhancing trade ties in the field of IT.
Pakistani and Indian IT titans decided to carry on their efforts for developing an “IndiaPakistan e-land” at the border where people can meet, interact, teach, learn and jointly develop intellectual property.
Netsol deal with Indian company
One of Pakistan’s top ICT companies, Netsol, signed an agreement with an Indian firm to sell its product “Netsol Financial Suite” to a global auto leasing company operating in India.
Google grants to Social Innovators
Google Inc. has granted $250,000 to the Pakistan Software Houses Association that launched the Pasha Fund for distributing the allocated amount to 25 talented innovators.
This was for the first time that a global IT giant granted seed money to a local association for a social cause.
Pepper.pk Mobile Apps hit No.1 spot
Pakistani apps developer Pepper.pk hit the number one spot on the global Blackberry marketplace, App World, with their application, called LED Notifier Pro. The app has been immensely popular since its launch and is currently ranked the bestselling Blackberry application in the world.
Pakistan shines at APICTA
At the 11th annual Asia Pacific ICT Awards (APICTA) 2011 in Pattaya, Thailand, Pakistani ICT firms secured two Gold awards in the e-health and e-logistics and SCM categories and 5 silvers in the communication, financial, security, e-inclusion, e-community and e-government categories.