Upward move: Pakistan’s ICT sector to cross $10b mark, says [email protected]

Published: July 20, 2014
SHARES
Email
P@SHA’s current membership exceeds 370 and current employment is at 12,000. PHOTO: FILE

[email protected]’s current membership exceeds 370 and current employment is at 12,000. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: 

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.

Like Business on Facebook, follow @TribuneBiz on Twitter to stay informed and join in the conversation.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (13)

  • optimist
    Jul 20, 2014 - 8:00AM

    I know a company that made $74 million in 2013 and is not member of Pasha.
    .
    The owner told me that it is like unregulated market (not necessary black market). You get work ‘online’ with the help of family members/friends who work in big IT industry in Europe (usually one brother comes back to Pak to start business while the other markets the company. He was saying that the industry might already be $5 billion plus if we include the people who are not part of PASHA.

    Recommend

  • Shuaib Bhat
    Jul 20, 2014 - 9:51AM

    Woah an increase from $2 to $11 billion is insane! It means we are expecting a an annual growth rate of over around 42%. Which is insane and on top of that adding approximately 4% to the economy! So just the IT sector would be adding around 0.8% a year overall though the bulk of addition will come towards the end.

    Recommend

  • Insider
    Jul 20, 2014 - 11:03AM

    Pasha is an ignorant, intellectually blind governing body. They don’t come near the Indian IT think tanks and being a Pakistani I am comfortable to confess that. 370 members in a decade what a joke !!!
    Pakistan needs to provide facilities and amenities and ELECTRICITY on top of that. I was a freelancer earning around $1000-$12000 per month but load-shedding killed my dream and I am back to 9-5 job. I am not alone who is hit by this. There are thousands of people like me out there. And if it continues the $10 billion mark will cut down to $10 million.

    Recommend

  • Dooni
    Jul 20, 2014 - 11:30AM

    @Insider:
    You were earning $10-12K a month and yet you could not afford a generator, a UPS or a long life laptop to continue your work? I have freelanced for sometime as a web designer and the best thing about it is you can always manage your time. Electricity is no excuse for most freelance jobs.

    Recommend

  • H Chaudhry
    Jul 20, 2014 - 11:40AM

    @Insider I hear your pain. The ICT segment has huge potential to grow. The electricity is definately a challenge. It is ironic that in last 15 years nothing has been done in this sector. The last big ticket item at Chasma was built in 1990s by same Government as in power now. I am hoping that they can get this better in next 2-3 years so people like you can get to do what is good for every one.

    Recommend

  • Jinn
    Jul 20, 2014 - 11:48AM

    @Insider: dude no offense but if you were earning $1000-$12000 per month you could have easily solved your ELECTRICITY this is no excuse to leave free lancing and there’s no 9-5 in IT industry if you are in software/application development.

    Recommend

  • Poor man
    Jul 20, 2014 - 12:43PM

    @ Insiader, why so much negativity? I am sorry to hear that you had to leave your freelancing but I am amazed that if you were earning $1k-$12k MONTHLY, you were making even more most could make locally, so why not buy a UPS/Generator system and be done with that? Stop trolling something good in Pakistan.

    Recommend

  • Insider
    Jul 20, 2014 - 1:46PM

    @Dooni
    I just checked. it was a typo. $1000-$1200.

    Recommend

  • N.Sid
    Jul 20, 2014 - 2:05PM

    This is an interesting report i came across in the science daily, US. Says a lot about the opportunities in the gaming apps development in Pakistan.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/videos/674897.htm

    Recommend

  • Arfan Ahmed
    Jul 20, 2014 - 2:46PM

    Some good news and some bad. If we compare with India where last years IT exports were more than 85 billion USD with per capita earning of USD 70. What we are getting is around 15-18 USD per capita…………not a very good use of our natural intellectual talent…..problem lack of proper government program, lack of specialization where we like jack of all trades and master no non, lack of quality and software development methods, and above all seeking shortcuts………………….although this description does not fit all the players in industry but reflects the problem that we need to root out if we want to make this industry grow at par with the rest of the world…………

    Recommend

  • Moiz Omar
    Jul 20, 2014 - 3:46PM

    Good.Recommend

  • Moiz Omar
    Jul 20, 2014 - 3:48PM

    @Insider:
    Dude, with a 10K – 12K salary per month you could have easily afforded at least a UPS. It can easily charge a laptop.

    Recommend

  • Subhan Kazimi
    Jul 20, 2014 - 7:37PM

    Question is, what is the profit earned by these companies? If we look at meagre salaries they pay, mostly around $500, I tend to infer that these multimillion revenue stats are wrong. If they are correct, our IT workers are being exploited and underpaid.

    Recommend

More in Business