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Structural reforms, technology investment can bolster Pakistan’s growth picture

Govt must encourage local brands to escalate economy, IT companies growth

Interview with Mr Khushnood Aftab — CEO and Founder, Viper Technology (Pvt) Ltd

PROFILE:

Mr Khushnood Aftab is the CEO and Founder of Viper Technology (Private) Limited. He may be called one of the pioneers in the field of hardware promotion in Pakistan. Viper Technology has been promoting the local hardware industry in Pakistan since 1993.

PAGE: YOUR VIEWS ON THE BRANDED IT PRODUCTS IN PAKISTAN:

KHUSHNOOD AFTAB: The local market for IT products has seen a positive growth trend and brands like QMobile, Waves, Dawlance, Orient, and Viper have contributed to this significantly. One area of improvement, the way Viper sees it, is that the government should encourage local brands and products as a preference for their own purchases. We’ve seen this being done internationally and it has escalated their economy and their IT companies greatly.

PAGE: TELL US ABOUT THE PROGRESS OF YOUR BRAND AND WHAT CHANGES HAVE YOU WITNESSED IN THIS BUSINESS FROM THE COMPETITION POINT OF VIEW?

KHUSHNOOD AFTAB: Viper was launched with a range of desktops. We started off by selling PCs first and then we moved on to servers, notebooks, tablets and now IoT devices.

In a span of two decades, Viper has covered verticals such as banks, healthcare and education providing end to end solutions; including hardware, software and solution.

Over the years, Viper has been associated with Intel as a tier one partner and with other global technology brands including Dell, Lenovo, Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft.

According to IDC, Viper was pronounced the bestselling local PC brand in 2008. In 2016, Viper officially launched IoT devices into the market.

Back in 2000, there were a total of 7 local brands, whereas right now the market only has two standing. To our dismay, the government and private sector prefers multi-national brands, which serves as a threat to our growth as a local brand.

PAGE: YOUR VIEWS ON TAXATION ISSUES IN IT HARDWARE BUSINESS IN PAKISTAN:

KHUSHNOOD AFTAB: Taxation is a critical issue when it comes to local businesses. Multinational brands are exempted from GST (general sales tax) whereas GST is applicable on components that are used to assemble PCs locally. This results in a 17 percent difference of expense in our production.

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