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During the first year EMT will invest at least Euro 1-1.5 million

By SYED M. ASLAM
April 29 - May 05, 2002

Euro Software Parks is a second generation off-shore development house headquartered in The Netherlands. It also fully owns Euro Mobile Technologies (EMT) which specializes in developing value-added services and applications for the mobile phone industry. EMT has announced to open a fully owned subsidiary in Karachi, Euro Mobile Technologies (Pakistan) Limited. The decision to open the subsidiary is influenced by EMT's association with Karachi-based KalSoft software company which will be outsourced the major works by the EMT through a joint venture agreement signed between the two companies.

The CEO and Chairman of Euro Software Parks, Dr Norman Rizwan, and its Director, Ir. Berry Tanis, will be the Director and CEO of the newly established EMT Pakistan respectively. Dr Rizwan, a Dutch citizen, was born in Pakistan and is the Honorary Consul General of Pakistan in The Netherlands. He and Mr. Tanis flew to Karachi to hold a press conference with KalSoft about the joint venture agreement between the two companies. PAGE had an exclusive opportunity to talk to them at KalSoft development house. The following are the excerpts of that exclusive interview.

During the first year EMT will invest at least Euro 1-1.5 million. However, the potential for additional investments over the years is very real as "we want to develop at least one successful application directed specifically at the mobile market of Europe which houses a thriving population of 200 million plus mobile users. With half of the 400 million population of Europe already connected and the number of mobile phone users increasing at an exponentially 15 per cent per annum we are sure that with one successful mobile application developed here in Pakistan, which has the expertise to match comparative products developed anywhere, we are confident that gaining even a little niche would be beneficial. We will focus on developing mobile applications which are compact, intelligent and affordable."

EMT Pakistan has a two-way strategy, one each for the corporate and consumer market which differ in many ways in its targeted market of Europe. "The corporate market views a mobile application primarily from the view point of enhancing the productivity of employees, for instance during driving a car. The consumer market, on the other hand, is a short-term market because of sudden change of trends. In addition, the consumer market of value-added mobile applications in Europe unlike Pakistan comprises a big majority of younger users between the ages of 14-30 which make 65 per cent of the total mobile population. With the use of wireless telephony increasing at an exponential rate of 15 per cent in Europe this huge population of young mobile users need extra applications and we aim to pay special attention to the needs of this group of trend-setters. However, we will also be developing applications for 30-40ish and 40-60ish consumer groups which are an altogether different markets."

Dr. Rizwan told PAGE that EMT Pakistan will be launching its first application in Pakistan and will be offering it to the users in Europe through a number of over 50 mobile operators in the continent. He said that the company has also developed four prototypes and is confident that they would pass the strict European testing standards of Quality of Service, which vary for corporate and consumer markets, ready to be launched end next month. "Once an application is developed, prototypes are tested by mobile providers and only a 98 per cent and over quality assurance is acceptable in Europe."

PAGE was informed that in the initial phase of the joint venture EMT will have a 16-person all Pakistani team in The Netherlands to market and sell the applications only in that country while a bigger team will be based in the UK. "However, the core assets including the development house, and outsourcing of the major portion of the jobs to the KalSoft will be based here. In addition, the applications will be patented and registered in Pakistan to have the 'Made in Pakistan' tag on them. EMT will also bring a small team of such core professionals as architects, designers and developers to oversee the outsourcing work to the KalSoft. Khurram H. Kalia will be the Chief Technical Officer of EMT team.

Dr. Rizwan said that "we came to Pakistan last year to look for the best partners for the joint venture. We visited 50 leading software houses and also signed LoIs with ten of them last March and invited all of them to Amsterdam and 7 of them did come. However, couple of them pulled back and we also ultimately realized that our demands can be completely met by one quality partner in Pakistan, the KalSoft. And we are confident the joint venture would benefit both the countries in short as well as long term."