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 [email protected], 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 [email protected] – 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,” [email protected] said.
From four founding companies in 1994, [email protected]’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 [email protected] 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 [email protected] President Jehan Ara.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 20th, 2014.