From Kamra to Karachi via the Chinese: Military debuts in the handheld market

Published: February 4, 2012

Pakistan Aeronautical Complex launches a computing tablet, a notebook and an eBook reader.

KARACHI: 

The newest entrant in the market for tablets and eBook readers – dominated by the likes of Apple, Amazon and Samsung – is none other than the Pakistani military.

The Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) Kamra, whose self-described mission is “to produce and support weapon systems for a high state of operational readiness of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF)”, has started up a new commercial venture with a Chinese company, which an official told The Express Tribune was to “strengthen the national economy”.

The first three products produced by PAC are a computing tablet, a notebook and an eBook reader.

A press release issued at the launch of the project on December 29 notes that “for the joint production of JF-17, PAF had established sufficient facilities which are appropriate for the production of both defence and commercial products.”

The PAC official, who asked not to be named, told The Express Tribune that the joint venture with the Chinese company Innavtek had taken off with the initial offering of three products. “We plan to expand this in the future.”

The venture website, cpmc.pk, states that “Innavtek jointly developed two products with Avionics Production Factory which are successfully flying on fleet of our JF-17 aircraft and three more products are under co development phase.”

The official said that while PAC would manufacture the products, marketing was Innavtek’s responsibility.

He said the products were initially being marketed in Rawalpindi, but modalities needed to be finalised so it could expand to other cities including Lahore and Karachi. “We will get in touch with courier companies to see if we can reach a deal to transport them,” he said.

The competitively priced products, he said, have several benefits because they are being manufactured in Kamra. “It comes with a joint one-year warranty of PAC and Innavtek. Because PAC is producing it, it will ensure quality. We will also provide backup support,” the official said. In the first stage of this venture, PAC will manufacture the products locally but there are plans for an exchange of personnel to be trained in China and Pakistan respectively.

PAC’s plan to “strengthen the national economy” via its new commercial venture means it has to capitalise on “current trends”.

Jehan Ara, the president of the Pakistan Software Houses Association (PASHA), said she was unaware of the venture. She was skeptical that customers would buy PAC’s products just because they were manufactured by the Pakistani military. “People with a fixed budget will test products, read reviews and get recommendations from friends and then buy something. They don’t buy just because of a name. They will test it out of curiosity and put up reviews etc.” She also said governments around the world and in Pakistan buy computers from vendors based on pricing and reliability, and should not be forced to buy from a specific vendor.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 4th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (52)

  • John B
    Feb 4, 2012 - 3:26AM

    National logistical cell for transport, banks, controlling shares in PIA, running government, and now computer manufacture for commercial venture.

    PAK army seems to be “good” in all except in doing what it is supposed to do. They should also run a TV station,newspaper, nursery school, and day care center.

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  • Roflcopter
    Feb 4, 2012 - 3:49AM

    Pak military zindabad!

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  • Mooed
    Feb 4, 2012 - 4:15AM

    Banks, Housing Schemes, Fertilizer factories and now this!
    what’s next in line from Pak military ?

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  • Syme
    Feb 4, 2012 - 6:48AM

    Main Shehbaz Sharif, Here is a chance to become prime minister. Distribute Army Tablet PC..

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  • XX
    Feb 4, 2012 - 7:42AM

    oh how dare they..

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  • Pakistani Agnostic
    Feb 4, 2012 - 7:48AM

    Pakistan Army seems to be most successful commercial organization in Pakistan. So ironic but as long as it increases the employment, i do not care.

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  • Someone
    Feb 4, 2012 - 8:11AM

    Interesting. Would love to try and test out this new piece of technology.Recommend

  • Sweet Dee
    Feb 4, 2012 - 9:34AM

    FYI, Pak army has commercial ventures to support itself. The measly defence budget isn’t enough to support the army.
    The commercial ventures also support the economy…almost all the employees in army-run companies are CIVILIANS.

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  • Feb 4, 2012 - 10:45AM

    Pakistani military needs to take a page from the Chinese military (PLA) which has played a huge role in China’s very rapid industrialization, economic growth and poverty alleviation. Pak military should do what is necessary to strengthen the nation’s industry, economy and national security, regardless of any critics, including Ayesha Siddiqa Agha and her myriad fans. This is the best way forward to a well-educated, industrialized, prosperous and democratic Pakistan in the future.

    http://www.riazhaq.com/2009/06/militarys-role-in-pakistans-industrial.html

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  • Feb 4, 2012 - 11:18AM

    Bravo. Being a Side-Product of a MILITARY Industry, it should be welcomed. If they have the machinery, why not generate some Funds. After all it will go to aid the funds for the main PROJECT i.e. JF-17.

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  • PhlyingRPh
    Feb 4, 2012 - 11:19AM

    If they had put this much effort into protecting the country…

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  • MUNIB
    Feb 4, 2012 - 11:26AM

    3 months back i met someone whose family had links to Pindi groups. He told me that PAK ARMY is concerned. I asked what it is concerned about. He replied . . . . kharchey poorey nahi ho rahey :)

    That pretty much explains the whole story of DOLLARs, NATO tankers, PNS mehran , May 2 and everything

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  • Feb 4, 2012 - 11:48AM

    Bravo, Pakistan Armed Forces Zindabad

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  • Akhtar
    Feb 4, 2012 - 12:18PM

    @sweet dee
    If 23% of annual spend is not enough, on top of army makes money on Aid, free arms from china & money from its real estate, marriage hall & commercial business, how much is enough? Do you know how much Musharraf has made that he lives a comfortable life in UK?

    Do you how much it costs to get your kids educated in UK? Do you know how these Generals, politicians including Imran, & others get the money?Recommend

  • Interconnect Partners
    Feb 4, 2012 - 1:12PM

    The initiative by PAC is good to indigenisation of tablet PC, Android iPad, and the likes. Todays control system is all based on tablets, whether based on Microsoft, Google Android, or iPad from Apple. Certainly there is an App or there will be an App that could be developed. Avionics control systems in Pakistan is for the home market. Hence the domestic market possibly get a good product locally produced, and will be immune from import duty. Current Chinese good quality Android tablet 4.0 cost $99-00 retail in the international markets. I hope we will get it locally produced with no duty on import for $50-00.

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  • asim
    Feb 4, 2012 - 1:13PM

    Excellent news! way to go Pakistan military!

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  • Feb 4, 2012 - 1:42PM

    This is good initiative either it is from Pakistan Military or any other organization. We shall appreciate that effort all the way.

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  • Talha
    Feb 4, 2012 - 3:26PM

    I will definitely buy it.

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  • Ali
    Feb 4, 2012 - 3:56PM

    @John B:
    do you have any problem if it improves economy and provide more job opportunities ?
    and btw, you aren’t even Pakistani, so its none of your concern

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  • SHUJA
    Feb 4, 2012 - 4:14PM

    Just think, why civilians are not CAPABLE to make tablets while PAC is capable of that !!!!
    Instead of crying that why Army doing it, make yourself capable enough to do something.
    Private sector has not been stopped by Army’s budget atleast !!!!

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  • Farz
    Feb 4, 2012 - 4:18PM

    Where can we get it in Karachi?

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  • Sweet Dee
    Feb 4, 2012 - 6:23PM

    @ Akhtar
    lol!
    Most of the military aid goes to support the Govt’s budget. Free arms from China? most of them are on soft-loans.

    As for Musharraf, he earned his money from his lectures. You know how much he gets per lecture? No i don’t think you do, otherwise you wouldn’t have brought up Musharraf.

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  • Optimist
    Feb 4, 2012 - 7:25PM

    I have always been critical of Pak army for producing only weapons while the country is centuries behind in other things (e.g. even TV set).
    .
    First time I feel happy. Army should also start ventures in other technology related fields. It will create capacity in the society. Army should actively support film industry too!!!

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  • Alpha
    Feb 4, 2012 - 8:54PM

    great news … please dont spread misconception guys … PAC is NOT PART OF THE PAKISTAN MILITARY … they are an independent organization under the Ministry of Defence Production … they have already done a number of commercial ventures including manufacturing aircraft parts for Boeing …

    let me repeat … they are not part of the Military … the Military pays PAC for whatever work they get done …

    great job PAC …

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  • American Desi
    Feb 4, 2012 - 9:30PM

    These pads are outdated and being dumped by Chinese in Pakistan through the Establishment! There is no accountability or transparency in these deals!

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  • Ali
    Feb 4, 2012 - 10:09PM

    How many of you can see “Angry Birds” in the tab ;p ?

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  • Umer
    Feb 4, 2012 - 10:14PM

    @John B:

    They should also run a TV
    station,newspaper

    They already do, just under other brand names.

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  • Hasan Nizamani
    Feb 4, 2012 - 11:09PM

    FYI, PAC also manufacture parts for Boeing to earn some cash because of the measly budget allocated for armed forces.
    Civilians work in the factory, so its great for economy.

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  • Dawar
    Feb 4, 2012 - 11:51PM

    Can’t wait to buy the netbook. I hope it has atleast 2GB RAM

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  • Haseeb
    Feb 5, 2012 - 1:23AM

    Though I am happy to know about these things being made in Pakistan. But I am amazed at few of the comments.
    “Measly budget” ??? :) .. well if more than half of Pakistani budget is still measly for them .. no amount of money will ever be sufficient to feed them.
    And about Musharraf’s assets, a recent news column reported his lawyer saying that every army chief gets 400-500 million rupees on retirement and that is where the bulk of his money came from. No wonder they consider the budget “measly”.

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  • John B
    Feb 5, 2012 - 4:56AM

    @Ali:
    It is my concern because I pay from my pocket whenever they come and ask money for the welfare of the PAK people.

    Cannot believe how PAK people can be so blind? Where does the profit from all these venture go and who absorbs the losses? Where did the army get the capital to start with: land, infrastructure, time, resources, raw material, etc.

    The army echelons and may be the politicians who invested in these army ventures are robbing people, and the country and monopolizing the business and PAK people don’t even know it.

    No wonder !

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  • Feb 5, 2012 - 5:03AM

    *Great news atleast we are able to get, better quality checked tab…Although its chines “Brands..!! lets see when it will be available in markets

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  • Humayun
    Feb 5, 2012 - 11:05AM

    Apart from commercial and economic interests, it may be a good spying tool to closely watch the civilian subjects of this nation.

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  • SHUJA
    Feb 5, 2012 - 12:01PM

    @ John B.
    PAC has MILLION dollar machines being used for Aircraft manufacturing but they are not used to its full potentials due to the less tasking.
    Its just like you have a machine for doing a small job.
    that machine is necessary so PAC bought that.
    Now they have a skill, the machine and the resource.
    its only the matter of putting it onto use.
    My dear, only if PAC starts many many such ventures, our profits will rise.
    MOST IMPORTANTLY- PAC is not a Military… its under civil MOD.
    and thousands of Civilains are working in the factories.

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  • Rizwan
    Feb 5, 2012 - 12:23PM

    Give me a break this is not the work of Ary organizations to launch consumer products or I’d devises.Please for God sake concentrate on on your basic and constitution duty which is to protect the nation against the enemy .Hope ARMY understands

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  • A Rana
    Feb 5, 2012 - 2:59PM

    with out ant offense to all those who are criticizing Pak Army for nothing, What is the Harm if so called – “Pak Army” org, which is basically Ministry of Defense Productions Org is producing such gadgets? Internet – which is considered a blessing today is product of American Army, so?? and in Pakistan IT industry as advanced alot, Karachi and Lahore has IT parks and all facilities available. no one has stopped anyone from advancing.

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  • A genuine Pakistani
    Feb 5, 2012 - 6:32PM

    @John B:
    Who told you that they ask you money for the welfare of PAK people? The money which comes to Pakistan is nothing compared to what we are losing because of your rulers’ rubbish desires and requests. PAK people are not blind, you are, if you are not worrying about billions of dollars being spent on US military for the “welfare” of some other countries. Ask your representatives who are taking money from your pocket to spend there. DON”T ever think that you are giving money to Pakistan in charity.
    I am so surprised at my countrymen’s intellect and approach. Some of the comments are so hilarious, I couldn’t stop laughing. People can go really out of the way if they are against someone or somebody, like one person wrote, “spying device for civilians”, what a fantastic idea!!!
    Let me just say one last thing here, PAC Kamra that we are discussing here is not ARMY at all. It is a CIVILIAN organisation which is totally run by CIVILIANS and it under the ministry of defense. The only military thing is that its working on PAF’s assets, overhauling and manufacturing. PAF is not ARMY, it is Airforce. Recommend

  • Feb 6, 2012 - 10:59AM

    Yes China is our real friend but we are too heavily dependent on China, we need to stand on our own, from Pen’s nip to fighting jets all are either Chinese or made with the help of China.Recommend

  • Hasan
    Feb 6, 2012 - 3:22PM

    @John B: Usually I do not comment on articles online but reading your comments, my patience ran out. I request you to stop insulting our intelligence by implying that American aid is what is keeping Pakistan running. The $30 billion odd received utterly fail to compensate for the losses incurred by Pakistan’s economy as well as infrastructure because of an illegal war being raged by your politicians out of sheer arrogance to save America’s dignity. Not to mention that in spite of all that, the war is still coming to an embarrassing end for you.

    Hence I advise you not to throw stones at others homes when you yourself live in a glass house.

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  • Khurram
    Feb 7, 2012 - 1:11AM

    Looks like the product’s web page has reached its bandwidth limit :( Maybe they didnt anticipate the popularity of the brand. They better act fast or the public will stop taking any interest in the product..Recommend

  • Qadeer Ahmed
    Feb 7, 2012 - 9:04PM

    At first instant it fascinates but in reality its just like now cricket team starts playing football to improve Pakistan image in football…Come on…..have our met all defense requirement…defense is the biggest economical weapon….the leading countries are earning through their defense product and we think that we need to jump into other matters…..what a dumb idea…..and I am sure it being assembled not manufactured in Pakistan.

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  • Adil
    Feb 8, 2012 - 2:24PM

    give me the prices please…..love to buy my own country items. hope they will be affordable

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  • Feb 8, 2012 - 9:37PM

    Hi Saba Imtiaz,
    It is a very good news that after so much wait a Pakistani company has started manufacturing IT related products. It will not only lessen our import load but also strengthen country’s economy. We should start using our own products.

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  • ARBAZ
    Feb 8, 2012 - 9:41PM

    Pakistan “RISING” has established itself as part of a very dynamic regional paradigm amalgamating it geographically with Central Asia, Middle East and Europe. While also situated at the gateway to the Arabian Gulf, Pakistan will also have access to the waters of the Caspian Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea, Arabian Sea, China Sea and the Pacific Ocean. This positions Pakistan at the crossroads to peace and prosperity in the world and economic well-being as well as military clout

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  • shahzad
    Feb 12, 2012 - 1:17AM

    They should stick to their job. I see another nlc scam in the making.

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  • Muhammad Ali Shan
    Feb 14, 2012 - 5:00PM

    People may criticize Pakistan Forces (Air/Land/Water) but they should also look at the other picture. If Government is not delivering state of the art Schools/Colleges/Universities/Hospitals/Institutions/Hardware/Software then we should be thankful to ALLAH that atleast there are national institutions who are delivering up to best of their capabilities for the benefits of Pakistan.

    We need to decide today, are we really with our beloved Pakistan and its Armed forces or not!

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  • Jawad Dal
    Feb 14, 2012 - 5:28PM

    I think its good. It will also help Pakistan Army in usage of new technology and command on spying gadget technology. It will also help us to set our own networks so our people can get safe from threats of foreign networks which can be under command of any surveillance system.

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  • khan of quetta
    Feb 20, 2012 - 11:10AM

    well every body has its own perspective i consider it a positive step just imagine how much we can save on foriegn reserves

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  • khan of quetta
    Feb 20, 2012 - 11:13AM

    its only 18000 rupees wow 200$

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  • S Qureshi
    Feb 21, 2012 - 10:13AM

    Thanks PAC. We need to save hard currency and decrease the import bill of consumer electronics. Also the technology will leak out and new (civilian) start-ups will spring out of Kamra.

    Pakistan has imported handsets of worth Rs 45 Billion in 2010 and 2011.
    http://mobilephones.pk/reviews/handsets-of-worth-rs-45-billion-imported-in-pakistan-in-year-201011/

    Pakistan’s consumer electronics market, defined as including computing devices, mobile handsets and AV products, is projected to be worth about US$1.8bn in 2011. This is expected to increase to US$3.0bn by 2015, driven by a rising population and growing affordability.

    http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20110707005551/en/Research-Markets-Pakistan-Consumer-Electronics-Report-Q3

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  • saad
    Feb 24, 2012 - 12:46PM

    @John B:
    dude all da armies of the world do this… y r u so concerned about army… get a life dude..

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  • faizan
    Mar 15, 2012 - 10:05AM

    its a matter of gr8 honour for every pakistani dt PAC KAMRA is making these products along wd other defence products..i think as apkistani we should be proud of it that we are now capable of making these productsRecommend

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