INTEL IN PAKISTAN

An exclusive interview with Kamil Hasan, Country Manager, Intel Pakistan Corporation

By SHABBIR H. KAZMI
Sep 23 - 29, 2002

Kamil F. Hasan, Country Manager, Intel Pakistan Corporation, joined the company in August 1997, as Channel Manager to set up the Channel operation and a distribution network in Pakistan. With an extensive background in Information Technology and Sales, Kamil was the prime choice for this portfolio. He became the Country Manager, Intel Pakistan Corporation in March 2001.

Intel Pakistan has been playing the key role of facilitating the growth of the industry from spreading IT awareness in the country to enabling the market to supporting the industry by providing leading edge technology products to the local market at the same time when they are made available internationally. A case in point Hasan highlighted was when the Pentium 4 was launched in Pakistan in November 2000, the first Pentium 4 processor based system in Asia Pacific was sold in Lahore. This shows not just market readiness for the latest technology but also the level of enthusiasm in Pakistan. Intel has also put in a lot of efforts to overcome barriers that were hindering the growth of Information Technology in the country.

To date Intel Pakistan has hosted a number of interactive workshops, seminars, exhibition and other events which reflects the company's commitment to promoting IT awareness in Pakistan. Now the focus is to take the latest technology to cities like Peshawar, Quetta, Faislabad, Hyderabad, Sialkot, etc. The response and feedback from these cities have been extraordinary. Top executives from Intel Corporation regularly visit Pakistan and have strategic meetings with leading industry chieftains and the government and offer technical assistance and consultancy services. Craig Barrett, the CEO of Intel Corporation had a very detailed meeting with Dr. Atta-ur-Rehman in Hong Kong early last year in which Pakistan's IT scenario was discussed.

Intel has also played a substantial role in establishing a solid educational foundation by providing technical assistance and consultancy services to tertiary and non-tertiary institutes in terms of procurement of consultancy which include advising them on the desktop and server architecture as well as the networking infrastructure. This year Intel formally launched their education initiative, 'Intel Teach to the Future' and to date over 13,000 public and private school teachers have been trained in deploying IT in their daily curriculum and henceforth enhance the students learning curve. Intel's active participation in the educational front is in an ongoing process.

Speaking about the government role in facilitating IT in the country, Hasan said that the government has been quite forward looking. IT was identified as one of the four key drivers of the economy three years ago. The government realizes that IT represents a significant untapped potential of Pakistan through which it can leap frog the technology. Various initiatives have surfaced during the past three years in the face of reduction of duties, development of a pool of an IT savvy human resource, tax exemptions, the fiber optic linkage has been further expanded, reduction in bandwidth rates, and most recently the exemption of sales tax for computer networking equipment. We have been very lucky on that front that we have a very IT friendly government in place.

Commenting on the infrastructure and PC penetration, Hasan said, "As far as the infrastructure development side is concerned, Pakistan is doing pretty good in that area. There is infrastructure to access internet across the country, broadband and fiber optics are in the pipeline and a solid telecommunication infrastructure in place. As far as the PC penetration rate is concerned, it is still very low. Having said that, one must also recognize that Pakistan PC market has been growing at a healthy rate of 40 per cent per year, which is one of the highest growth rates in the region".

All said and done, for a product that users don't see as it is inside the PC and performs wonders, the Intel brand is one of the strongest brands the world over. Intel Pakistan has done a phenomenal job in enabling the market and the buck doesn't stop here. Intel is dedicated and committed to Pakistan market. We continue to provide cutting edge technology. The Genuine Intel Dealer Network and Intel Premier Providers Network continues to grow to provide the end-users quality products and reliable after sales support.