PAKISTAN'S INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY INDUSTRY SHOWING A TREMENDOUS PERFORMANCE IN TERMS OF FASTEST BUSINESS EXPANSION, REVENUES GROWTH

KANWAL SALEEM
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)

July 23 - 29, 20
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Pakistan's Information Technology (IT) industry has been showing a tremendous increase in its performance in terms of business expansion, revenue growth and employment generation in the shortest amount of time. This is evident, as a number of companies are offering software services and products, computer networking and development solutions. These companies have gained a limelight and secured positions in the recently announced 'Pakistan100 index' of the AllWorldNetwork for the year 2012 showing high revenue growth potential with constant success and recognition at global platforms in recent years.

According to the report, there are 12 companies categorized under software services and products that have been listed and ranked in the Index. The software companies have generated a total revenue of $46.491 million last year and secured sixth position in terms of turnover among the different other sectors. There were four emerging companies in the IT sector with the total turnover reached at $19.64 million registered in 2010. These companies have continued to impart a remarkable contribution in the economy by introducing advanced solutions and applications in services and different businesses. The companies have not only created direct and indirect jobs but also allied businesses, shaping growth and trends in the market as emerging potential companies in the country

The IT and telecommunication sectors have the potential to create many jobs. Pakistan earned around $1.4 billion through IT related exports annually. Over 1,000 IT companies, including 60 international ones, operated in Pakistan.

Pakistan has a lot of potential for growth and, to take advantage of this potential, we need to take few positive actions including; investment in training and development of human resources and to focus on quality assurance and standards. IT is one of the areas that could offer enormous opportunities for creating countless number of jobs.

The country is facing a number of challenges for its economic revival, therefore, with other initiatives, IT industry needs to be flourished for technological advancement, generating revenues and reducing unemployment. It was a healthy sign that the IT sector of Pakistan has shown a marked improvement and its ranking has gone up last year. However, much more is desired to harness the full potential of this sector. By tapping the full potential of IT, the country could also grab a substantial share in the international IT market and enhance its exports as well.

Experts told PAGE that inadequate legal framework has been the main hindrance in the proper growth of the IT sector. Apart from addressing the issues of IT infrastructure and finance, the government needs to address these issues at the utmost priority to reap the full benefits from the growing IT sector.

Over the last two decades the IT sector has employed over half a million youngsters in different capacities ranging from software developers, hardware engineers, Call Centre operators and cable handlers. The IT sector still possesses great potential to assimilate another half a million youngsters immediately with serious efforts from the government policymakers, they added.

They stressed upon the government to take measures for enhancing educational enrolment and particularly IT training capacity of the population to promote IT culture and improve the competitiveness of Pakistani products and exports.

The year 2011 marked as a golden year in the Information Technology (IT) industry of Pakistan with lots of unprecedented achievements, solid developments and emerging potential, thus building a strong hope towards the bright future of the country.

The following were highlights of Pakistan's Major achievements in the year 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. It was a tremendous achievement from the industry to get recognized at national level.

The Pakistan Fast Growth 25 is a program of the AllWorld Network in partnership with Harvard Business School 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 game, "Cricket Power" (www.cricketpower.com), is the most advanced 3D browser cricket game developed to date. It features all 14 official teams along with official players, stadiums and kits, and is played directly in the browser.

PAK-INDIA ICT FIRMS VOW TO ENHANCE TRADE UP TO $5 BILLION

Pakistani and Indian IT committee of Aman Ki Asha successfully held the bilateral talks separately on both sides of borders aimed at enhancing trade ties in the field of IT, which is one of six sectors with great trade attraction between two countries.

Pakistanis and Indian IT titans have decided to carry on their efforts for developing an "India-Pakistan E-land" at the border where people can meet, interact, teach, learn and jointly develop intellectual property.

It was deliberated in the talks that Pakistan and India could boost their mutual trade in Information Technology (IT) sector up to a colossal US$ 5 billion through joint-ventures, investment and exchange of expertise.

NETSOL DEAL WITH INDIAN COMPANY

One of Pakistan's top ICT companies, Netsol, has been engaging with Indian companies to provide applications of financial services.

It 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

This is first time in the history of the country that a global IT giant has granted seed money to a local association for any social cause.

Google Inc has granted $250,000 to Pakistan Software Houses Association that launched Pasha Fund for distributing the allocated amount to the 25 talented innovators.

There are more than 64 applications short listed out of more than 300 proposals submitted.

The purpose of the social innovation fund is to primarily aid talented young people who have innovative ideas for identifying and driving solutions of social and community challenges.

So far four individuals were selected for funding their projects.

PEPPER.PK MOBILE APPS HIT NO.1 SPOT

Pepper.pk application has hit the number one spot on the global Blackberry marketplace, App World. The application, called LED Notifier Pro, has been immensely popular since its launch and is currently ranked the best selling Blackberry application in the world.

Pepper.pk is no stranger to success or the world number one spot. Their Photo Editor for Blackberry Smart phones has occupied the #1 rank on App World twice in the past three months and has received an overwhelming amount of global media coverage.

TENPEARLS WINS NOKIA CONTEST TWICE

Pakistani firm Ten Pearls has marked another record as it has bagged 2nd position and received a $50,000 cash prize at 'Nokia & AT&T Innovators 2011 Contest'.

This is the second award Ten Pearls has received for its mobile app named "Animal 101 within a year in which it competed against more than 800 entrants for top spots.

The first award was the 1st prize that Ten Pearls received for the uTrack mobile app earlier in 2011 for the same platform in Pakistan

Ten Pearl was successful in attracting buyers and entered into a deal with an Indian company for creating different mobile apps.

PAKISTAN SHINES AT APICTA

One of the major achievements of the country, when Pakistan was declared as winner of two gold and five silver awards at 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 & SCM categories and 5 silvers in the Communication, Financial, Security, E-Inclusion & E-Community and E-Government categories.

Pakistan's team comprised of 18 products which were competing with 162 different products from the Asia Pacific region.

In the end, we can say the information technology proved to be our savior, as this was one domain where we could have gained a foot hold as demonstrated by other developing economies like India, Bangladesh and Vietnam. As per PSEB (Pakistan Software Export Board), sales revenue of Pakistan's IT industry is US$ 1.6 billion whereas its global share is around US$2.8 billion.

Many global software companies have relocated their business operations offshore to developing countries. Pakistan is also included in one of those countries where a number of large and medium-sized companies have outsourced their work. Our IT professionals, web designers and developers are making animations, multimedia application, online games and other programs. All this has been made possible because of a balanced IT infrastructure, highly-skilled and talented human resource departments accompanied by quality IT educational institutions.

The IT sector, especially the ecommerce industry is Pakistan has grown but the pace of progress has become slow thus owing to the recession and rapid market expansion of other developing countries. At present, the ecommerce sector in Pakistan suffers from various factors but mainly due to self created problems. We need to market our potential and software market rigorously in order to get maximum projects and investment in terms of research projects. Pakistan needs to devise a national IT policy and focus on both the private and public sector, only then can Pakistan achieve its true potential.