IT exports may grow to $10b by 2020

Published: April 15, 2011
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IBM’s country general manager sees bright future for sector.

IBM’s country general manager sees bright future for sector.

KARACHI: 

Pakistan could play host to an extreme growth spurt in the information technology industry in the next 10 years, according to a study quoted by IBM’s Country General Manager Hamayun Bashir.

Speaking at a ceremony held to celebrate a century of IBM’s existence on Thursday, Bashir informed Pakistan may have up to one million jobs in the information technology industry by 2020.

“IBA students are working on a study with assistance from the Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s IT committee. The report, to be published in a few months, underlines that by 2020, Pakistan can easily have a million jobs and exports of $10 billion in the IT industry,” he asserted.

He expressed hope that the current figure of 0.15 million jobs in the industry could easily be increased. “I see a bright future for our industry, which is producing top-quality software,” said Bashir.

“We are meeting the IT ministry on behalf of Pasha – the chamber for IT in the country – to get officials to refocus on the sector,” said Bashir.

Commenting on the resignation of former IT minister Babar Awan, he said, “The minister was an important, focal point of the industry.”

“I have heard that the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is providing funds and a data centre will be created in Islamabad,” he said while talking about the e-government programme.

Replying to a complaint that large organisations in the country, such as banks, did not give projects to local firms, he said that there were up to 60 large companies in Pakistan which needed tried and tested software.

He, however, explained that there were at least 10,000 small companies that would not be able to afford services of large international firms and would have to adopt local software solutions, which would help the economy grow.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 15th,  2011.

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Reader Comments (15)

  • sanjithmenon
    Apr 15, 2011 - 2:33PM

    By which time the IT boom will plateau.Recommend

  • Habib
    Apr 15, 2011 - 3:36PM

    Pakistan has potential and talent in IT, just government honest support is needed.Recommend

  • Ali
    Apr 15, 2011 - 5:08PM

    BPO, call centers are already a very profitable business here.
    I have seen experienced call center workers earn about 50 000-100 000 ruppees per month.
    We have a good supply of english speaking graduates. This is an industry that is set to boom. Recommend

  • Yasar
    Apr 15, 2011 - 9:50PM

    @sanjithmenon:
    Nah you are hating because philipines is overtaking you guys.

    I love how Indians recommend any post by their own nationality. They are sheep.Recommend

  • Raqib Ali
    Apr 15, 2011 - 11:38PM

    Pakistan has come a long way in IT during last 5 years or so… a long way to go too!Recommend

  • indian
    Apr 16, 2011 - 5:45AM

    Software outsourcing model is difficult to replicate :problem with pakistan lies in.

    high cost of living standard even accounting its low currecy
    2.high cost of food and essential commodity
    3.high electricity cost(few electricity for industry )

    4.War against terror

    5.Reputation

    6.No home grown software company

    7.Not a developed industrial base to cater and develop billion dollar IT industrial base!!

    To grow exports to 10 billion dollar from current 1 billion dollar,it has to grow at 30% yearly!!

    which is difficult to achieve without a lot of investment

    8.IT market and outsourcing model is difficult to replicate due to growing competition and
    saturation in market !!Most of Big IT companies have invested billion of dollars in india,china,philipines and malaysia!!

    so its impossible for them to invest in same same cost center in a region with less stability

    9.Philipines and india are equal in BPO!India has grown high up in KPO and BPO has been mainly left ignored due to low return,But most of companies based in phillipines are owned by indian software houses!!Recommend

  • Raqib Ali
    Apr 16, 2011 - 6:46PM

    Pakistan IT industry has been growing at 50% a year.

    Reputation/stability/war on terror doesn’t play much role when it comes to software. It is a problem when Gora Sahib has to come personally. Electricity problems in Pakistan are better than India/Bangladesh and quite similar to the Phillipines. We just make it more obvious by giving it more publicity.

    Our GDP grew from $62 Billion in 1999 to $162 Billion in 2009, brining Pakistan from lower income countries to middle income countries. If we can treble our economy despite all that problem, IT is another sector.

    I respect your point of view because you have
    tried to give some facts instead of resorting to
    abuse. I don’t blame you when I say that your analysis
    is flawed because this is what every Pakistani thinks due to
    our negative attitude. Recommend

  • Raqib Ali
    Apr 16, 2011 - 6:51PM

    And yes, Pakistani infrastructure is the MOST developed in South Asia, including India

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQj5YYqO39E

    http://southasiainvestor.blogspot.com/2009/12/pakistans-modern-infrastructure.htmlRecommend

  • indian
    Apr 16, 2011 - 8:42PM

    1.Pakistan IT industry has been growing at 50% a year.

    => IT industry does account electronics sales(including mobile,all gadgets sales)

    you should talk about Pakistan software export growth which is not more than 10% in
    post recession period.I dont understand how can someone come with a figure without proper plan.

    2.Reputation/stability/war on terror doesn’t play much role when it comes to software. It is a problem when Gora Sahib has to come personally.

    =>Political crisis,riots and numerous bomb blasts wont attract foreign companies in investing
    their money!!pakistan is not the only country on world map.They can invest in china,malaysia,phillipines,srilanka and even bangladesh which are more stable!!

    similarly south american countries also provide cheap labor

    3.
    Electricity problems in Pakistan are better than India/Bangladesh and quite similar to the Phillipines. We just make it more obvious by giving it more publicity.

    =>are industries in india shut because of electricity crisis?

    same goes for bangladesh.
    bangladesh can ramp up their production and buy hydro power from indian north eastern states!

    4.Our GDP grew from $62 Billion in 1999 to $162 Billion in 2009, brining Pakistan from lower income countries to middle income countries.

    =>Pakistan economy was 160 billion dollar in 2007 and it is 165 billion dollar at end of 2009-10

    .india,pakistan ,bangladesh all are still developing country and we still come in poor country group.

    If we can treble our economy despite all that problem, IT is another sector..

    =>your economy grew because of aid you received from america!
    please see the growth rates during musharraf era!i hope you are not eating the figures.
    i have no clue about pakisan economy,but once i saw at the figures ,it tells 100 billion dollar in 2000!!

    5.I respect your point of view because you have tried to give some facts instead of resorting to
    abuse. I don’t blame you when I say that your analysis is flawed because this is what every Pakistani thinks due to our negative attitude.

    =>I am not saying that pakistan dont have talented and skilled people!but majority of them leave pakistan! So you dont have volume of skilled labor in house.
    Moreover pakistan is fighting war against terror(till 2014 end),intolerance is increasing in youth and things are really not good for pakistan!!

    Even if you aim aggressively with sound leadership and software body, you could at max reach software export of 5-6 billion dollar but even that needs 20% compounded growth yearly(if your software exports are 1 billion dollar currently)

    Software and BPO growth in the world is 5% and there are 1000 players in it !!Recommend

  • indian
    Apr 16, 2011 - 8:47PM

    @Raqab

    And yes, Pakistani infrastructure is the MOST developed in South Asia, including India
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQj5YYqO39E
    http://southasiainvestor.blogspot.com/2009/12/pakistans-modern-infrastructure.html

    =>
    Infrastructure in software is only limited to city(Electricity,cost of housing,cost of living and cost of labor)!Airway,Railway,shipping are more advanced in india as compared to pakistan.To an extent roadways in pakistan would be better than that of india!

    Good work,you all are building good infrastructure ,and pakistan is likely to be part of greater india!!so Keep it up :)Recommend

  • Raqib Ali
    Apr 17, 2011 - 1:34AM

    @ Indian

    I thought u wanted a good debate but your points are all wishful thinking, espeically greater India part is quite disgusting.

    You guys keep on proving how right our elders were when they asked for Pakistan. Thank you Internet that now we can re-live that feeling without actually ‘living with the enemy’. Recommend

  • Raqib Ali
    Apr 17, 2011 - 1:40AM

    We were also told that don’t waste time arguing in the hope that Indians will understand your point of view. They are just trying to waste your energies in arguments. How true! You proved that true as well!

    Greater India, it would have been possible if you had bigger hearts too.

    I don’t see any hope of peace :((((Recommend

  • Cherish Raj
    Apr 17, 2011 - 10:46AM

    @Yasar

    Please check your facts before commenting. Philippines is marginally ahead of India in call center jobs, but call centers are not even 10% of India’s $60 billion outsourcing industry. India is way ahead in software and IT enabled services. Recommend

  • Meekal Ahmed
    Apr 17, 2011 - 5:21PM

    @Raqib Ali:
    I certainly do NOT agree that Pakistan can be classified as a “middle-income” country. Please check your facts. The World Bank could have the ranking on their web-site.

    We are NOT eligible for some of the IMF’s highly-concessional lending facilities because our per capita income is too high.

    But that does not make us middle-income!Recommend

  • XX
    Apr 18, 2011 - 2:52AM

    Having had worked in the IT industry both in Pakistan and the US, I have to say this report seems a little over-optimistic. Main reason is that the image of Pakistan is so bad abroad, that few companies would be willing to give access to their data to Pakistanis.

    But judging from people I’ve spoken to recently in the IT industry in Pakistan, I would say that a main possible source of growth would be the Chinese market. This is because it appears that large Chinese companies are now eager to jump on the bandwagon and start outsourcing IT work to places like India, but nationalism being very high in China these days, it seems that they would rather work with Pakistan than India. Recommend

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