Pakistan to establish its first laptop assembly plant

By APP
Published: August 7, 2013
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The assembling plant will also help facilitate the distribution of laptops to deserving students. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

The assembling plant will also help facilitate the distribution of laptops to deserving students. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

Pakistan will have its first ever laptop assembling plant soon which would strengthen the country’s indigenous capacity in laptop manufacturing and assembling, and also create job opportunities for skilled youth.

The decision was taken during the third meeting for the implementation of the Prime Minister Youth Laptop Scheme held here on Tuesday under the chairmanship of Higher Education Commission (HEC) Chairperson, Dr Javaid R Leghari.

The assembling plant will also help facilitate the distribution of laptops to deserving students.

50% of the required labour will be provided by the Prime Minister’s Skill Development Training Programme.

The meeting also decided to hold an international conference of potential bidders for establishing the plant, and to form a steering committee comprising all the stakeholders for effective implementation of the laptop scheme.

A Project Implementation Unit will also be established at HEC to initiate speedy implementation of the scheme without any delay.

The meeting discussed the modalities of implementing the laptop scheme recently announced by the government in the annual budget to acknowledge the outstanding performance of the bright students.

Chairman HEC, Dr Javaid Leghari said the HEC was tasked to design the implementation strategy and form eligibility criteria in a transparent manner to promote outreach of youth to information and communication technology.

Under this scheme, laptops would be given to students acquiring higher education at federal universities.

He assured the meeting that the HEC will implement the laptop scheme in a well defined, merit-based and transparent manner.

Director General Information Technology, HEC Anwar Amjad gave a presentation elaborating the design and mechanism of implementing the laptop scheme.

Those who attended the meeting included representatives from the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Commerce and Industries, Ministry of Science and Technology, HEC and Punjab Information and Technology Board. 

Published in The Express Tribune, August 7th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (53)

  • Dr. Dang
    Aug 7, 2013 - 12:50AM

    They should work on cheap wifi enabled android or windows tablets with Bluetooth keyboards.
    The future is that of smart phones and tablets.
    India has made one I believe called aakash which is dirt cheap. Pakistan Air Force was also working on its version some time back. On eBay on can find tablets for as low as 40 dollars.

    My 2 cents.

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  • Umer
    Aug 7, 2013 - 1:16AM

    Laptops? Now that era of tablets has arrived?

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  • Vishnu Dutta
    Aug 7, 2013 - 1:21AM

    Wow, in 2013! A bit too late. But better late than never.Recommend

  • Khurram Awan
    Aug 7, 2013 - 1:26AM

    Kindly establish this plant in Internal Sindh or in South Punjab where there is no Industrialization at all. This time dont drag this project to the already saturated places like Karachi, Lahore, Faisalabad and Islamabad etc. Smaller cities need Job Generation as well and the trend of Reverse Migration should start and this could only accomplish with the help of Industrialization in Under privileged regions of our country.

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  • ahmad
    Aug 7, 2013 - 1:32AM

    Perfect . The cost of laptop in Pakistan may decrease after this step

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  • Aam Pakistani
    Aug 7, 2013 - 1:49AM

    thats great news!

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  • Aug 7, 2013 - 2:04AM

    Much appreciated. We also need such initiatives for power generation and sustainable, mobile and alternative energy production units. Anyone from investors?

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  • Aug 7, 2013 - 2:24AM

    My question is why gov is focusing on assembly plant why not on manufacturing plant as it will have long lasting advantages.

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  • Aug 7, 2013 - 2:37AM

    @Vishnu Dutta: WHATEVER the course goes about, after not being able to be productive for society and losing some more points, embarrassed cats only scratch the poles. Continue!

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  • humayun
    Aug 7, 2013 - 2:42AM

    yer another flashy project

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  • Sajjad
    Aug 7, 2013 - 4:33AM

    To those who’re saying the era of tablets have arrived, they have never actually used any tablet. I own a couple of iPads and a Galaxy Tab, but I’ve say a laptop is a far better choice for a student. The efficiency of work you can do on laptop is far better than on any other device.

    Tablets are just OK to view the documents, but the actual writing of the document is always done on the PCs (laptops).

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  • Akram Chowdry
    Aug 7, 2013 - 6:05AM

    About 30 years back when Intel introduced a 386 chip, the mother board alone were selling around $1000 a piece. With 10 times more power and features, one can buy a motherboard for $100. Companies like Apple, Samsung and others make money through the introduction of new technologies and not from manufacturing. I wonder how Pakistan is going to compete in that field. I am sure there is better use of needed financial resources than to establish a laptop factory

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  • Akram Chowdry
    Aug 7, 2013 - 6:06AM

    What a naïve statement.

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  • Akram Chowdry
    Aug 7, 2013 - 6:16AM

    I bet that all these guys in this meeting about laptop factory , never have been in such a business themselves. All their life they just sit behind the desk and get salaries. Such people have no business in business. I wish they had invited some business people with the needed background. In most cases, business people put their own money on he line and take the risks and rewards that is part and parcel of being a business man.

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  • Parvez Amin
    Aug 7, 2013 - 6:44AM

    We don’t need new laptops assembled in Pakistan. Used ones are much cheaper and work well. We need software in all local languages; that is what we should be spending on.

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  • Dr. Dang
    Aug 7, 2013 - 8:44AM

    @Sajjad:
    Dont presume that others have not used tablets. Don’t enforce your opinion.
    I have 2 tablets (ipads) 2 smart phones , 2 laptops and one desktop
    I am tech savvy and I hardly use desktops or laptops any more. From educational websites to youtube (where available ) almost everything can be managed by tablets. I maintain stock portfolios and design web and print .

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  • BADurrani
    Aug 7, 2013 - 10:40AM

    Would the nation not be better served if they had offered initiatives for the private sector to set up this plant? While one can argue that their heart is in the right place, it is not the governments job to make lap tops, or to make anything for that matter, it is however the governments job to create an environment that is conducive to the spirit of entrepreneurship and industry.

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  • Akram Chowdry
    Aug 7, 2013 - 11:38AM

    I fully agree that we can import used laptops which work well and are cheap. One can buy through Ebay a refurbished laptop from HP, Dell, and others, for example, at less than 200 dollars a piece. I would give such support to those who develop software which can be exported or developed for local use.. We just cannot compete in hardware production as over 95% is material cost of a laptop and none of the needed material is locally available. Can you imagine the cost of establishing a factory, importing material, cost of work in process and for what.

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  • Vishnu Dutta
    Aug 7, 2013 - 12:08PM

    @Kashif Ajmal Malik:
    well done with that Copy and paste! Wait until you get a locally assembled laptop so you can write for your own.

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  • Aug 7, 2013 - 1:09PM

    Good!
    Slow and steadily win the race. Hope for the steadily progress.

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  • fmkhan213
    Aug 7, 2013 - 1:14PM

    @Sajjad no @vishnu dutta is right, the laptop in the state we are using these days are going to become obsolete in a span of ten years maximum.. The world is moving towards tablet pcs (not the one you are fortunate enough to use, but hybrids and all-in-one’s, I’m sure u have never heard of it, khair…) Windows 8 along with android are going to deliver laptop-cum-tablets Samsung Ativ Q, Microsoft Surface, ASUS Transformer pad etc.the list goes on n on… this is a really stupid decision… I think they should better bring the 3G or 4GLTE to Pak, we are really backward with respect to current communication services being practiced around the world…. hope for the best….

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  • Farhan
    Aug 7, 2013 - 1:15PM

    I’m not sure what purpose setting up a laptop plant would serve? It is not the governments job to produce laptops. This should be done by the private sector. Government should focus on the decreasing the fiscal deficit.

    There are many economic measures being put in place by this government which I support, but I think this laptop initiative is purely political.

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  • Khurram Awan
    Aug 7, 2013 - 2:18PM

    @fmkhan213: Do you know Pakistan already produce Tablets and also they are doing Research and development on a smaller scale already???. Kamra is already in the development and production process of *PC PAD1 *tablet and now they want to reduce its costs in future. The above mentioned Project’s primary aim will be to produce laptops on a larger scale for the provision of laptops to Students. Also one assembly plant could be modified in no time to produce smart phones and tablets.
    Moreover other than windows and android we have more than 8 Operating systems in the market and you also forgot to mention Linux as well that is a free open source operating system.

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  • Aug 7, 2013 - 2:31PM

    @Farhan:
    bhai It seems to be another economic measure to reduce the fiscal deficit, additionally may prepare more professional people who will go in private sector to work on other similar or better ideas so in return benefit the economy right?
    @Akram Chowdry sir may be your suggestion for undescribed better use of needed financial resources can be picked up if you elaborate her eplease. Additionally, why not a positive step be appreciate afterall you didnt have a single factory previously and not necessarily they will just keep working on laptop assembly, tabs, smart phones, ID Chips, More domestic and communication micro controller can be achieved. And about the production of material, we need to adopt the chinese thinking with apologies, who produce their own products so why not?
    @fmkhan213 boss can you suggest anything that will come after 10 years and you can give us mechanism on what shall we do, as I am interested in investing along with many expat Pakistans but our people are not trained, we do not have professional education and technical brains, but I think I would love to hire people from Pakistani assembly points for laptops. What else?
    By the way, i feel we need to change the operating system to control piracy and introduce android or a similar product which is far efficient but yes its not as powerful as windows in terms of features but intelligent 10 times than windows.

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  • Hashmat
    Aug 7, 2013 - 2:39PM

    @Dr. Dang:

    Can you run Matlab or MS Visual Studio on android tablets or iPads or Excel on these devices. Tablets era is just begun and wont replace laptops immediately. Tablets have a different role and I purely believe students still need a laptop. By the time tablets will establish themselves as main development environment same assembly plant can assemble tablets as well.

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  • Arshad Vayani
    Aug 7, 2013 - 3:06PM

    @Umer: Tablets are mainly for media consumption. They can’t be used for software or web development. You still need a powerful enough laptop which can handle all such tasks.

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  • Babablacksheep
    Aug 7, 2013 - 3:59PM

    @Dr. Dang:
    what is your address?

    hahahaha

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  • Akram Chowdry
    Aug 7, 2013 - 4:06PM

    Kashif Sb.

    I used to be a professor of business at a university. I left teaching and started three different companies–sub contracting, product company which went public and was acquired by IBM. I have also invested in at least 8 different start ups in silicon vallley. So, I have been through a lot in this kind of business.
    For your benefit and others, I am investing my own money with a partner in Pakistan and introducing latest solar technology (not a factory to produce laptops) in Pakistan. Not even Chinese or Indians have this latest technology. Not only we will create many new jobs but also we will not be importing materials from abroad. Sun shines 360 days in Pakistan. By the way, Pakistan has one of the best Solar Density in the World.
    First of all why a private firm in Pakistan did not invest money and effort and start producing laptops etc. Only these politicians, and salaried senior clerks in government know how to waste public funds. They have no business to be in business. They generally don’t have their own neck on the line. Even in case of India, out of $60 billion of IT export, not even .01 percent is hardware. Chinese model is that they attracted companies from abroad who brought the knowledge, funds, equipment and marketing skills to China. Pakistan should try to do the same.

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  • Akram Chowdry
    Aug 7, 2013 - 4:17PM

    Khurram sb

    Kamra should be producing F-16 and not the tablets. You don’t need that level of investment to produce laptop.

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  • Muhammad Awais
    Aug 7, 2013 - 4:19PM

    I am so glad that I was the one who recommended that to CM. For the first time, anyone adhered to my advise and even replied with compliments. For this scheme, I am like Iqbal and CM is like Jinnah. I can’t explain the feeling.

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  • Aug 7, 2013 - 4:51PM

    @Akram Chowdry: Very happy to see you sir, and thanks for the information provided, Your move will encourage many others. I also want to bring the investment back to my country and I feel I must not feed others rather our countrymen but also a collective effort is needed as you have a partner in Pakistan, we need more people to look after the real issues. It would be great if you please provide a URL of your works, Thanks.

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  • Aug 7, 2013 - 4:53PM

    @Muhammad Awais: What did you suggest him? and how?

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  • Sheraz Malik
    Aug 7, 2013 - 5:26PM

    Thats great news! Thats great news ! The cost of laptop in Pakistan may decrease after this step..

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  • Talat Ali
    Aug 7, 2013 - 6:04PM

    When Benazir Bhutto first came to power she informed the Air Chief that she could get PAF Mirage 2000. The Chief is believed to have told her that if that money were given to the airforce it could produce its own light combat aircraft. The dream was realized in about a decade. Now we are manufacturing our own LCAs. India boasted of flying its own LCA much before we did but they still have not conceived it yet. The same is the story of the MBT (main battle tank). India went ahead couple of decades ago and failed miserably to produce a tank. We now have Khalid which Jane’s magazine on defence called it one of the best in the world. America is now not worried about Pakistan’s nuclear bomb as that is now reality but they are worried most of our Nanotechnology production. Laptops? Haha

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  • Muhammad Awais
    Aug 7, 2013 - 6:26PM

    @Muhammad Awais: Well, CM official fb page was posting that CM is meeting with DELL’s director, that day. I happend to suggest that to CM. After few moments, the admin said ” CM has taken notice of your comment and will talk with the DELL’s director about this issue.

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  • Dr Dang (tm)
    Aug 7, 2013 - 6:36PM

    @Dr. Dang:
    I dint know you had the copyright to this user name.Cease & Desist.

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  • Aug 7, 2013 - 6:46PM

    @Dr Dang ™: haha thats risible

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  • Sami
    Aug 7, 2013 - 6:52PM

    Tablets and smartphones are not replacement of Laptops. They never did not they will ever replace laptops … To all those saying tablets instead of laptops!

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  • Aug 7, 2013 - 7:09PM

    @All laughing at this initiative, why dont you get a different passport? You cant be productive and we dont need you.

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  • Aug 7, 2013 - 7:11PM

    Great News! The fact it will create job opportunities for the skilled youth is very encouraging.

    Ali Khan

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  • akram Chowdry
    Aug 7, 2013 - 7:49PM

    Kashif Malik Sb

    Please wait for couple of weeks more and then I will gladly share what I am doing in PAKISTAN AND WHY. At least this much I can share that the technology we hope to transfer is being used only in USA, France and Germany. Based on our own knowledge, our ;products will be twice as efficient as any other Silicon base modules. I already have the information about what Punjab government has agreed to pay to Europeans and Chinese suppliers for each watt of power to be produced. In terns of quality, price and support, we surely will beat them hands down. We will not deal with the government at all and we will not borrow funds from any body. You can reach me at akramc2002@yahoo.com

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  • Aug 7, 2013 - 8:01PM

    Any manufacturing initiative deserves welcome.

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  • Ricky
    Aug 7, 2013 - 8:02PM

    Laptops are not as powerful as desktops for real engineering, software development and heavy duty work. Desktops are still cheap and get the job done for serious users. However, both desktops and laptops have seen their best days and are not a profitable business for assemblers.
    For people on the move the laptops with charger are still heavy and need power source every few hours. Their batteries lose capacity starting a few month of use to require replacement within a year or two. The real solution is solid state hard drive for faster, lighter laptop with less problems and longer battery life. While the traditional laptops would shrink and decline the tablets would take over most of the laptops for their portability and longer battery life. With the software like Dragon Naturally Speaking the typing and keyboard use is already a thing of the past. Most medical and law professional now do not bother to type. With the advent of more powerful tablets the clunky laptops are not going to survive for long. A cheaper, robust and more powerful desktop for home/office and a tablet is all one would need in the near future. A solar powered/charged tablet would be a wiser choice for the future. New laptops can be bought for $200 made by reputable companies are already available.

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  • Frantic
    Aug 7, 2013 - 8:08PM

    Hahaha……A country which couldn’t even handle youtube !!

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  • Saleem
    Aug 7, 2013 - 8:25PM

    It seems everyone wants to give his/her two cents without knowing the subject. I own iphone, ipad, and laptop. As few already have pointed out they all are different and for different use. Tablets as well as ipad are great on the go but they are not intended to replace laptops. Pakistan can’t have a luxury of these tablets or ipad, rather establish laptop manufacturing plants. It will be better to partner with companies like Google to manufacture their Chromebook as they are the cheapest.

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  • M.A.S
    Aug 7, 2013 - 9:34PM

    Please be realistic Mian Sahibaan. U have already given us the obsoleted idea of metro bus service. World is moving towards smart phones and tablets. Laptops are now slowly phasing out and many computer manufacturers around the globe are facing cash flow issues.

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  • Singh
    Aug 7, 2013 - 10:58PM

    Wow,
    Assembly line of Laptop in Pakistan!
    It is great achievement by Pakistan in 21st, century.
    By the way @ you will start making Cell phone too.
    Congrats.

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  • skhan
    Aug 8, 2013 - 3:48AM

    PMLN started their election campaign bit too early!

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  • Bill Gates
    Aug 8, 2013 - 5:34PM

    Laptops in the era of Tablets and smart phones ? Who is using laptops in Pakistan?

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  • Aug 8, 2013 - 9:17PM

    They should work on cheap wifi enabled android or windows tablets with Bluetooth keyboards.

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  • Akram Chowdry
    Aug 8, 2013 - 10:28PM

    Based on reading the comments of those who support establishing a factory for laptops, In my view, they don’t have the needed background. Can you imagine how sophisticated machinery and trained individuals are needed just to assemble a motherboard for a laptop. Almost 90% of components on a motherboard use SMT machinery and highly trained operators. They should know that 95% of the total cost of manufacturing laptop is material cost and the labor cost is less than 5%. In order to produce and ship laptops worth $1 million/month, you will have to import material of about $950,000. One would need machinery for assembly, soldering, testing,, burn in etc. of at least 25 million dollars. Also, where will you get trained people to run that kind of equipment. I personally know that Fuji Foundation started an electronic assembly plant by spending millions of dollars which got busted within 2 years. I also know one gentleman from armed forces bought PCB manufacturing plant by paying millions of dollars from USA and installed it in Islamabad. It badly failed because they did not have the trained people to operate such equipment and there was no local market for their products/services . I also visited PCB manufacturing division of PIA in Karachi. Same outcome. Just few months back I also visited a factory in Islamabad which should be producing solar modules. Don’t ask me what I saw there. All of them used government money and badly failed. They never put their own money on the line. All those who are proposing and supporting establishing such a factory should put their money where their mouth is. As the saying goes “NEEM HAKIM KHUTRA JON” fits pretty well here.

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  • KUMAR
    Aug 8, 2013 - 10:48PM

    WOW,WOW what a great achievement…………..pakistan is going to the world leader in IT too………………i congratulate all pakistanis on your GREAT achievement……

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  • faiz mohammad memon
    Aug 9, 2013 - 5:25PM

    Very good news. Definitely it will be very beneficial to the people of the Pakistan. This scheme may not be delayed at all.

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