Pakistani technology industry welcomes Chinese investment
BEIJING, Nov. 30 (Gwadar Pro) - "Pakistan is one of the most exciting technology ecosystems globally right now, attracting more capital at a faster pace than many other emerging markets," remarked Ben Harburg - managing partner of MSA Capital - while addressing a seminar titled "China-Pakistan: The Way Forward" hosted by Center for China and Globalization (CCG), a Chinese non-governmental think tank based in Beijing.
"Actually my firm is one of the very few firms of China heritage that have investments in Pakistan and as a firm, one of our key impetus is how do we apply Chinese models in technology ecosystem to the Pakistani market?" He raised a question.
Take IT industry as an example. As for the edge of Pakistan's IT industry, Badar U Zaman, Commercial Counsellor of Embassy of Pakistan in Beijing, thinks the software development cost in Pakistan is quite reasonable.
Pakistan's IT exports are increasing very fast. "Our total service exports have crossed $6 billion. And in that, IT exports have crossed $2 billion. We have a fairly young population. 70 % of our population is younger than the age of 35. They’re good at English speaking. We have got many universities that teach IT and our IT engineers are working all over the globe. There are many, many new software houses that are coming," Badar noted.
Two years or so ago, there was about $10 million of VC investment going into the Pakistani technology ecosystem. "This year we're gonna see about $300 million. And the capital that's flowing into the Pakistani technology ecosystem is coming from global blue chip investors," Ben pinpointed.
Ben regards this a unique opportunity for China because Pakistani technology companies, in many instances are more interested in adopting the technology models popularized and pioneered in China.
"When it comes to hardware and software, we are getting a lot of support from China," Badar added.
And so in that sense, "China is a better exemplar, a better capital as well as a strategic partner for technology companies in Pakistan than the West," Ben further said.
Software development cost in China is increasing, but "we have got hundreds and thousands of software engineers who are available to China at a very reasonable cost and they are ready to work if the jobs are there," Badar said, adding that if the medium and small sized companies of China can consider Pakistan as a software development hub, they will get a cost advantage.