Upward move: Pakistan’s ICT sector to cross $10b mark, says P@SHA

Largest players grossing over $15 million and $25 million in revenues.

Farooq Baloch July 20, 2014


The current growth rate and employment trend indicate that Pakistan’s Information Communication Technology (ICT) industry will exceed the $10-billion mark within the next five years, Pakistan Software Houses Association for IT and IT-enabled services said on its website.

Though some industry experts were sceptical of these estimates, the industry’s representative body is optimistic that the ICT sector would exceed $11 billion in the next five years, especially the employment growth rate, which is over 41%.

According to P@SHA, the industry is already grossing over $2 billion a year, up from less than a billion dollars a few years ago. With most tech companies’ growth exceeding 30% a year, the country’s ICT sector is growing significantly.

From its nascent beginnings in the late 1980s, the industry has come a long way to the point where its value proposition is validated over and over again. “The largest players – members of P@SHA – are grossing between $15 million and $25 million in revenues and receiving $100 million valuations,” it says.

The country’s technology sector is fast becoming a hub of high performance business. “What other sectors and countries achieved in 15 to 20 years, Pakistan’s technology scene is poised to achieve in less than a decade.

“Putting it all together, the Pakistani technology industry is very different from what it was in the early 1990s,” P@SHA said.

From four founding companies in 1994, P@SHA’s current membership exceeds 370. The industry had 4,200 employees in 2004 while current employment is at 12,000. The employers expect a rise in employment growth rate to 50% this year to meet the demand.

The aforesaid estimates come exclusively from members of P@SHA and exclude the earnings of tens of thousands of freelancers working in individual capacities. According to Pakistan Startup report, there are about 1 million freelancers working from Pakistan mainly via elance, oDesk and freelancer – world’s famous online market places that count Pakistan among top 5 freelancing nations.

“It’s hard to get the exact idea of how big the industry’s actual size may be. Those who are earning high don’t disclose their revenues for two reasons: personal security and the Federal Board of Revenue. It is common for Pakistanis to hide their incomes because of threats from extortionists, particularly in Karachi,” said P@SHA President Jehan Ara.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 20th, 2014.

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