Pakistan Among Top Favorites For Outsourcing

Pakistan ranks number 3, after US (#1) and India (#2), in terms of freelancers doing outsourced IT work on contract. Bangladesh ranks fourth, according to data from four biggest online outsourcing sites:  Elance.com, oDesk.com, Freelancer.com, and Guru.com.

The data also shows that US, Australia and the UK as the top hiring countries. All four websites work in a similar way: First, companies post job requirements on these sites. Next, freelancers or IT-companies offer their bids with skills and cost for the project listed on the website. Finally, the company chooses the best bid meeting its job requirements.


Recently, Freelacers.com, one of the top four online marketplaces, said there are 240,000 freelance Pakistanis registered as providers on its website.


With more than 30 million internet subscribers, five million plus broadband users and a population nearing 200 million, according to Freelancer executive Adam Byrnes, it makes sense to have a presence in Pakistan.
“Going forward, we want to provide self-employment for a billion people, a significant portion of that is going to come from Pakistan,” he told Express Tribune.

In addition to having a large population, Pakistan has seen its human capital grow significantly over the last decade.  With nearly 16% of its population in 25-34 years age group having college degrees, Pakistan is well ahead of India and Indonesia, according to Global Education Digest 2009 published by UNESCO Institute of Statistics. UNESCO data also shows that Pakistan's lead is growing with younger age groups.

Faster economic growth requires BOTH skilled manpower and investment of dollars as Pakistanis saw during Musharraf years. Regardless, the growth of human capital is a good thing to build a foundation for Pakistan's future. It'll contribute to economic growth when the security situation improves and FDI returns to Pakistan. The country's large diaspora too will be helpful in accelerating Pakistan's growth and development with money and skills. 

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Upwardly Mobile Pakistan

Pakistan Among Top Outsourcing Destinations

Pakistan's IT Industry

Pakistan's Software Prodigy

Biotech and Genomics in Pakistan

India & Pakistan Comparison Update 2011

India and Pakistan Contrasted in 2010
 
Eating Grass-The Making of Pakistani Bomb
 
Educational Attainment Dataset By Robert Barro and Jong-Wha Lee

Quality of Higher Education in India and Pakistan

Developing Pakistan's Intellectual Capital

Intellectual Wealth of Nations

Pakistan's Story After 64 Years of Independence

Pakistan Ahead of India on Key Human Development Indices

Comments

Riaz Haq said…
It takes a basic critical mass of enabling technologies, processes and participants before such tech-based businesses achieve explosive growth.

In this case, Internet access, especially broadband, is a relatively new phenomenon in Pakistan. I expect to see online freelance markets' accelerated growth with increasing broadband access in Pakistan.


In addition to the Elance (founded in 1999) figures of $170 million total and $40 million to Pakistanis, Express Tribune says Freelancers (founded in 2004) has paid $150 million to its freelancers, including $13 to Pakistanis, according to Express Tribune.

https://www.elance.com/trends/talent-available/geo#GeoRanking

http://tribune.com.pk/story/516239/pakistan-3rd-highest-user-of-freelancer-as-self-employment-rises/
Riaz Haq said…
Here's an earlier post I did back in 2009 on this phenomenon:

Menlo Park, California based oDesk has ranked the Philippines and Pakistan as the top two outsourcing destinations in terms of growth, value for money and customer feedback.

oDesk helps its clients with tools, technologies and services to hire and manage remote work teams. Other companies in its category, including Elance, Guru and RentACoder, create marketplaces in which employers and freelancers can contact one another. These sites often manage the payments, and make money by charging membership fees and/or take a cut of the payment. The cuts can range from 4 percent to 15 percent.

According to oDesk, Pakistan experienced 328% growth in its outsourcing business in 2007-8, second only to the Philippines (789%) on a list of seven top locations that include US (260%), Canada (121%), India (113%), the Ukraine (77%) and Russia (43%).

Pakistan ranks number one in value for money for developers and data entry and number two overall behind the Philippines where the cost of answering calls is about half of the cost in Pakistan. Pakistan is well ahead of India and just behind the number 1 ranked United States in customer satisfaction.

The growth of outsourcing within the US and Canada as well as the high customer satisfaction data for North America are particularly noteworthy. It seems to indicate that more and more North American companies are showing preference for outsourcing close to home. New technology appears to be helping close the cost gap between North America and the rest of the top seven outsourcing destinations.

In addition to oDesk's view of Pakistan as a preferred outsourcing destination, Gartner, in its 2008 report ‘Analysis of Pakistan as an Offshore Service Location’ said the major factor behind upgrading Pakistan to first tier status for outsourcing is the lower salaries and better infrastructure advantages than other offshore destinations. “The salaries of IT professionals in Pakistan are approximately 30% lower than those in India, while telecommunication costs are also lower as compared to any other offshore locations, which make Pakistan an attractive outsourcing destination.”

oDesk says that "the results … the Philippines and Pakistan rank the highest in this admittedly simplistic analysis, which must be taken with a grain of salt." It adds, "There are many factors to be taken into consideration when hiring contractors to your workteams. But, in the meantime, congratulations to providers in these two countries for topping the list! Fans of outsourcing to the Philippines and Pakistan will also be glad to know that they were also the fastest growing countries on oDesk, by hours worked, from 2007-2008."


http://www.riazhaq.com/2009/01/pakistan-ranks-among-top-outsourcing.html
Riaz Haq said…
Here's Express Tribune on IT contractors in Pakistan:

..From business process outsourcing to developing smartphone apps, Pakistani IT professionals are seem to be going after every opportunity, especially in the online job market, to bring home valuable foreign exchange.

In high demand, Pakistani IT professionals are growing significantly on oDesk, a Silicon valley-based online marketplace, in terms of both revenues and subscriptions to the platform.

“Pakistan is one of our largest contractor bases, and it is growing steadily,” CEO Gary Swart said in reply to queries through email. Contractors in Pakistan earned almost $1.5 million on oDesk in January 2012 alone, he said. “That figure is more than double the $700,000 they earned in January 2011, which is really an impressive growth!”

In January 2012, Swart said, more than 4,500 contractors from Pakistan signed up for oDesk, which enables businesses to hire, manage and pay a flexible online workforce, representing significant growth over previous months.

The top five categories of oDesk that work in Pakistan, according to the CEO, are web programming, web design, search engine optimisation, software development and mobile apps.

“In these five categories alone, contractors from Pakistan earned $796,000 in January 2012.” The number of Pakistani professionals that sign up for oDesk is growing steadily at a rate of 11% month over month, he added.

As seen from the top five job categories for Pakistani contractors, Swart said, there is certainly a large demand for their IT skills on the oDesk marketplace – which was the seventh fastest-growing company of Silicon Valley in 2011, according to the Silicon Valley Business Journal.

oDesk, according to Swart, is world’s largest online marketplace – as measured by dollars earned by contractors each month – and has 1.6 million registered contractors where 120,000 new jobs are posted each month. Contractors earned more than $225 million on oDesk last year, he said.

IT services are definitely a sweet spot for the oDesk marketplace in general, Swart said. The top two job categories on oDesk overall – web development and software development – together make up more than half of the total earnings on the platform, and demand for IT skills continues to grow rapidly.

Pakistan’s IT industry, according to Pakistan Software Export Board, has seen steady growth over the last few years despite sluggish economic growth – thanks to the online job market.

IT and IT-enabled services exports stood between $560 million and $860 million last year, according to former managing director of PSEB Imran Zia. On a Y-o-Y basis, the IT sector has been growing at 15% to 20% for the last three years and the growth in 2011 was about 15%. The future outlook for Pakistani IT professionals looks promising as IT jobs are in high demand on oDesk, where subscription rate of Pakistani contractors is growing steadily.

“IT jobs are our most in-demand category – which means we have significantly more IT opportunities for contractors from all countries, Pakistan included,” Swart said. “So we believe that we have more Pakistani IT professionals than any other online work marketplace,” he added.


http://tribune.com.pk/story/338556/pakistani-it-professionals-in-high-demand/
Riaz Haq said…
Here's ET on web start-ups in Pakistan:

The answer: remittances. Pakistan receives $13-14 billion annually from external sources. Compare that to the total it collects in taxes, which is around $10 billion. You can see for yourself what accounts for more in the economy.
Payments from abroad usually take two channels: they either come from Pakistanis working overseas, or they come through our relatively small, yet gigantic-in-effect, web start-up industry. This industry comprises businesses and freelancers that globally outsource their services, and includes names such as Sofizar Constellations, Naseeb Networks (Rozee.pk), TradeKey and others. Sofizar alone makes around $15 million per year, and TradeKey.com is the second biggest business-to-business sales portal in the world, following alibaba.com. One of the world’s best online affiliate marketer, Faisalabad’s Pasban IT Group, is doing so well, it owns the only Lamborghini Aventador and Ferrari F430 in Pakistan.
How are these companies doing so well, and how big are these Pakistani startups on the international scene? If the ownership of one of the world’s most expensive cars doesn’t sound impressive enough, let me take you back a few years. Back in the day, when Digg.com was alive, one of the world’s greatest Digg-ers, Waseem, was from Pakistan. He, along with a group of fellow marketers, was hitting the front page of Digg.com on a daily basis, which meant looping in hundreds of thousands of visitors in no time. That is equal to popping your article on Reddit.com’s front page these days. One of the clients of these champion Digg-ers was the Chicago Tribune. You can figure the rest yourself.
This is how the online marketing industry works. Most of what goes viral online is not what people naturally promote and share, but a result of gaming that system to perfection and with skill. This is what good internet marketers do: you can only judge on the basis of what content channel it comes to you from. What if I told you that T-Series, one of India’s biggest music record labels, has a prime internet marketing affiliate based in Karachi? They are just a bunch of boys who do it underground! The bidders for tenders for this job span the entire Earth. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to you, then, that a company based in Karachi makes apps for the National Aerospace and Space administration (that’s NASA, mind you), for the space giant’s mobile platform.


http://tribune.com.pk/story/541693/how-big-is-pakistans-internet-start-up-industry/
Riaz Haq said…
Here's a Wired.com report on Karachi Hackathon:

Sabeen Mahmud has short-cropped hair and rectangular glasses; she’d fit right in hunched over a laptop at Philz or behind the counter at one of Apple’s Genius Bars. Her resume matches her style. She’s founded a small tech company, opened a hip coffee shop and organized a successful hackathon. But Mahmud doesn’t hail from the Bay – she lives in Karachi, a city more closely associated with extreme violence then entrepreneurs.

“Fear is just a line in your head,” Mahmud says. “You can choose what side of that line you want to be on.”

Mahmud represents something new in this ancient city. Mahmud “fell in passionately in love” with the first Mac she saw, teaching herself MacPaint and MacDraw in college in 1992, and devoting countless hours to Tetris. In 2006, Mahmud decided Karachi was sorely missing a space where people could gather around shared interests, an interdisciplinary space for collaboration and brainstorming. Despite the fact that in Pakistan, many women are not allowed to finish primary school, much less graduate from college and start their own company, she decided to start The Second Floor café, not letting the fact that she didn’t have any money or experience faze her. “I was living with my mother and my grandmother at the time,” she says, laughing. “I had done zero market research. I just hoped people would show up.”

People slowly have. The Second Floor now hosts four events a week, from poetry writings to live theater performances to forums on critical issues. Last month,the café hosted Pakistan’s first hackathon, a weekend-long event with nine teams focusing on solutions to civic problems in Pakistan ahead of last Saturday’s national election. “People are very disillusioned with mainstream politics right now,” Mahmud says. “We wanted to come up with a way to put that energy to use.”
-------
Starting with 30 high-level problem areas, they whittled it down to nine specific issues that could be solved with concrete apps. “Not a single soul questioned that these problems could not be solved,” Ahmed says. “It was all a matter of selecting the right approach.”..


http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2013/05/pakistans-first-hackathon/
Riaz Haq said…
Here's a story of a Pakistani woman entrepreneur:

.. Before becoming an entrepreneur, (Maria) Umar was a full-time teacher. She quit after her job refused her maternity leave and subsequently began writing for a woman she found through Rozee.pk, Pakistan's premiere job portal. The money was good — almost double what she made as a teacher — but when Umar discovered her employer's oDesk profile, she realized she could make even more money by contracting with clients directly.

She set up her own oDesk account and began taking on extra jobs and outsourcing them. At first she gave the jobs to her nieces, then to their friends, and eventually to their classmates, until she realized that she had developed a small content-creation business.

Today, this company is called The Women's Digital League, an IT-solution company that trains rural Pakistani women in micro online tasks, from ghost-writing to social media management.

Ovidiu Bujorean is the Senior Manager of the GIST Initiative, which supports entrepreneurship in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. He met Umar after she won a GIST business plan competition, and recognized her ability immediately. "She is extremely passionate and persistent," he says of Umar. "She’s also very committed to her mission of helping female entrepreneurs find job opportunities...


http://mashable.com/2013/06/29/pakistan-woman-entrepreneur-2/
Riaz Haq said…
Here's a Texas TV reporters' story on visit with some high-tech Pak graduates of UT Austin in Lahore:

LAHORE, Pakistan (KXAN) - It was a beautiful late winter day in Pakistan. The Zacky Farms outside of Lahore was busy with visitors taking advantage of the national holiday to visit the countryside.

Kids squealed with delight as they clambered onto the back of a hay truck offering free rides in front of the farm. Just inside the white washed front gates framed by butter-cream yellow walls accented with ceramic mosaics in shades of blue, tables were set for an outdoor feast.

Our delegation of was visiting Zacky Farms to learn about the sustainable agriculture trends becoming popular in Pakistan. Zacky was a model for turning biogas into power the growing operation that produces organic dairy products, vegetables, and wheat along with free range chickens.

Here, cutting-edge science and technology were being used to rethink how farms are run. I guess it should have come as no surprise I’d run into University of Texas Longhorns using their knowledge and expertise to plant the seeds for a stronger workforce to power Pakistan’s emerging tech industry.

Longhorns in Lahore

“We have really high-powered engineering teams here in Lahore,” said Abbas Yousafzai, CEO of Conrad Labs. a Lahore company specializing in engineering and development support for high tech start-up companies.

Conrad launched in 2009 as the research and development arm for Conformity -- now known as Iron Stratus -- an identity management and internet based single-sign-on startup in Austin.

Yousafzai, a University of Texas at Austin graduate with more than a decade of experience launching successful startups in Austin and California’s Silicon Valley says returning to his native Pakistan was a strategic that allows his company access to a vast network of untapped talent.

“The dedication the intelligence, the amount of talent here, commitment experience, it’s fantastic. You can’t find that anywhere else,” Yousafzai said.

Babar Ahmed, a fellow Longhorn, and CEO of Mindstorm Studios agreed.

“There are a lot of these pockets of brilliance that really come to life in Pakistan that just do these amazing things,” Ahmed said pointing to his company’s success creating games like Mafia Farm, Whacksy Taxi and Cricket Revolution for mobile devices and PCs as proof.

“Our games have hit No. 1 n the United States sitting in Lahore.” said Ahmed. "We did it all out of a room on our own.”

Mindstorm developers also created Cricket Power, The Official Game of the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup. A high-profile coup that validated what some saw as Ahmed’s risky decision to leave a successful career in the United States to launch a business in Pakistan in 2006.

“If you were to say: ‘Hey, how is it coming back to Pakistan is it all a bed of roses?’ Of course it’s not,” admitted Ahmed, who believes the challenges are worth the reward not only for his company but the growing software, gaming, and animation community in Pakistan.

“Giving people that opportunity, to provide them that chance to try and compete and succeed globally that’s really fulfilling,” he added with a wide smile....


http://www.kxan.com/dpp/news/austin-to-pakistan-the-tech-connection
Riaz Haq said…
Here's a National Geographic story on sustainable farming in Pakistan:

Zacky Farms, just outside Lahore, is the brainchild of Zafar Khan, a Caltech-educated software engineer who runs one of the most successful information technology companies in Pakistan named Sofizar. What started off as a recreational venture is now a side-business supplying sustainably produced organic milk, vegetables and meat to nearby Lahore suburbs. The farm is modeled on a cyclical model of minimal wastes and multiple product usage. The cows are fed pesticide-free oats, clover and grass and their manure is used to fuela biogas plant which runs the dairy facility. In an era of electricity load-shedding, such an alternative source of energy at a local industrial scale is immensely valuable to replicate as a development path. The residue of the biogas is used to fertigate the fodder fields and vegetable tunnels, which along with green manuring obviates the use of fertilizers. Free-range chickens grace the fields and there is even a fish farm on site. Zafar and his Ukrainian-born wife are committed to sharing their experiences with other farming entrepreneurs in the country.

Further south in a more rural and remote part of Punjab, famed writer and erstwhile lawyer, Daniyal Mueenudin, maintains a mid-size farm which is exemplifying other kinds of innovations. The farm does not boast ecological farming practices, apart from tunnel farming that can help with land conservation and humidity control. However, Daniyal has changed the social landscape of his area through implementing a “living wage” for all his employees. Noting the high level of inequality in Pakistan’s hinterland, the Yale-educated former director of the university’s Lowenstein Human Rights Clinic, is practicing what he preached. He also owns a farm in Wisconsin and could have a comfortable life in the States but his social obligations keep him ensconced in Pakistan for most of the year.

Raising the wage several-fold for works and farm manager, and also offering bonus incentives for performance, has led to positive competition that can help to erode the feudal levels of income disparity which exist in this part of Pakistan. At the same time, Daniyal is also committed to providing new livelihood paths for the agrarian workers as automation reduces farm employment in some areas. He has has fully funded a school and provided a merit-based scholarship for advanced degrees to students from the nearby village. One of the children from this school (the first in her family to even go to school) is now making his way through medical school in Lahore!

Zafar and Daniyal’s stories of commitment to constructive farming for social and ecological good may appear to be outliers but they are catching on and provide hope to a country which is all too often shadowed by despair. In the suburbs of Islamabad, tax incentives and planning rules to encourage farming by urbanites are leading to a growing culture of reconnecting with the land in residential farms. In rural areas, the disaster caused by the floods of 2010 brought forth numerous aid agencies with new ideas for sustainable farming. The Pakistani diaspora, often known in the West for professions ranging from taxi-driving to engineering, may well find opportunities for reconnecting to their land in far more literal ways. With growing commitment from land-owners it just might be possible to use the existential shock of recent natural disasters that have befallen the country into a proverbial opportunity for positive change.


http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2012/02/23/farming-pakistan/
Riaz Haq said…
Here's a Tech-in-Asia piece on Start-up activity in Pakistan:

Until recently, the only incubators in Pakistan were found in hospitals or poultry farms. But now startup incubators are proliferating. This phenomenon is part of the global wave of shared office spaces, accelerators, incubator programs, and university labs that cultivate entrepreneurship and innovation in the hope of kickstarting their local tech ecosystems and becoming their region’s Silicon Valley.

Like all trends in Pakistan, entrepreneurship is a hot buzzword that’s thrown around too often and hyped beyond what the market fundamentals can support. It’s encouraging to see people get excited about running their own companies, but it’s critical to provide them the tools and most importantly the mindset to achieve extraordinary success on a global scale, rather than ending up as an ordinary local company.

Before looking at the 27 incubators that now exist in the country (embedded below), first we need to understand the environment in which these wannabe entrepreneurs are dreaming about making their first million dollars. Or, inspired by the Zuckerberg story, a billion dollars. Maybe we need a reality check first.

Ground realities
Most tech grads swept away in entrepreneurship fever follow the familiar path of two or three friends moonlighting on freelance work and then finishing their computer science degree to start a “company”, which basically means the three of them sitting at someone’s home and making websites for random clients on Odesk, Elance, or their cousin in Toronto. Once the money starts flowing in, they get a small office and hire three more people to start app development services for iOS and Android. There might be Macbooks and iPhones on the table and a Steve Jobs poster on the wall but it’s a slow, linear slog of adding “seats” and scrabbling around between between rock-bottom hourly rates, Pakistan’s image problem, and offshore client’s expectations.

This service model offers the low hanging fruit that helps get a foothold in the market but it also sucks away the time and energy needed to work on your own products. If services do well, you get more work and more money and the option of risking all that for a fantasy product with no guarantee of success is a difficult decision, one that seems harder with every passing year. It’s a bit like painting walls on daily wages and wishing that one day you’ll create the next Mona Lisa.

Even the largest tech companies in Pakistan are primarily providing services or earning from consulting focused on the typical ERP, CRM, HR, business outsourcing (BPO) solutions that a thousand other providers are vying for. Only a handful have been able to make standalone products that are profitable, let alone become leaders in their segments or globally known brands.


http://www.techinasia.com/27-startup-incubator-programs-funds-in-pakistan-2014/
Riaz Haq said…
Here's an AFP report on growth of computer games development in Pakistan:

LAHORE: It's a city better known for its history and culture, but a new generation of mobile game developers is bringing a slice of Silicon Valley to Pakistan's Lahore.

With open plan offices, mixed gender teams, gourmet catering and an emphasis on a fun atmosphere, the small but growing IT industry worth an estimated $2.8 billion is being led by young entrepreneurs like Babar Ahmed.

Ahmed, 33, left a career as a circuit engineer in Austin, Texas to found Mindstorm Studios in the eastern Pakistani city in 2006 with his brother Faraz.

Today their studio employs 47 people thanks to hits like 2010's “Whacksy Taxi”, which shot to number one on Apple's AppStore in over 25 countries; “Mafia Farm” in 2012 and “Cricket Power”, the official game of the 2011 World Cup.

“The idea was to put Pakistan on the gaming world,” said Ahmed, explaining he was tired of “drawing room talk” among expatriates in the US about how something should be done for their homeland.

Smartphone revolution

Mindstorm is one of several games development studios in Pakistan — mainly based in Lahore but also in the capital Islamabad and Karachi — to have prospered with the spread of the smartphone.

“After the iPhone was launched, the definition of what a game is changed overnight. The definition of what a gamer is changed overnight,” said Ahmed.

While traditional “hardcore” games — typically played on home console systems or PCs — need multi-million dollar budgets and teams of dozens of developers, games designed for smartphones need far less start-up capital.

That has allowed countries in eastern Europe, Pakistan, and the Philippines to become prime destinations for software outsourcing, said Jazib Zahir, chief operations officer at Tintash, another Lahore-based studio that provided the back-office for “Fishing Frenzy”, another top-ten hit.

According to the government, some 24,000 people are now employed in software exports — though the figure also includes more traditional areas like financial software and healthcare.

“One of the advantages that Pakistan brings is we do have a critical mass of people with training and aptitude, an interest in developing software and art and combining them,” adds Zahir, who is also a part-time tech journalist.

Breaking boundaries

At We R Play, an Islamabad-based studio based in a converted warehouse on the outskirts of the city, rows of twentysomethings busy themselves on their computers surrounded by colourful posters, plush toys and action figures.

The company was founded in 2010 by Mohsin Ali Afzal and Waqar Azim, with a major emphasis placed on a modern office space.

“We were sure from when we started that we didn't want cubicles and I wouldn't have a big office,” said Afzal, who returned from UC Berkeley in 2010.

“We wanted to make sure we're sitting with everyone. We encouraged everyone to take ownership of their spaces and gave them (money) to get stuff for their tables.”

Workspace and play is also seen as key at CaramelTech, a Lahore studio founded in 2011 by brothers Saad and Ammar Zaeem which is responsible for coding global 2011 mega-hit Fruit Ninja (which had over 500 million downloads) for an Australian studio.

The office has a designated play room complete with pool table, table football, and X-box.

“Every day at 4 pm they're forced to leave their work and go play upstairs.

We want that culture where people aren't only working but also enjoy themselves,” he said.

Also notable in the games studios is near gender-parity, a striking fact in a country where female participation in the workforce has lagged behind for decades.

People are dressed in everything from Western jeans and t-shirts to hijabs.

For some, convincing their family they are working in a “real job” wasn't easy....


http://www.dawn.com/news/1091602/gaming-industry-breaks-culture-barriers
Riaz Haq said…
Here's an Express Tribune report on E-Commerce in Pakistan:

Pakistan is one of the fastest emerging e-commerce markets in the region.
The level of trust global online groups are showing in the talents of the Pakistani youth and the e-commerce industry here suggests that, in the near future, it is likely to hold a significant share in Pakistan’s economy.
Kaymu.pk, a venture of Rocket Internet, a German based internet incubator operating in Pakistan, has built a reputation in the eyes of the decision makers of its parent company within just 15 months since it began operations.
The team, which is successfully operating kaymu.pk, has been given a task to launch the same portal in 26 other countries of Europe and the Asian region.
“The level of trust by the parent company shows huge potential and bright future for the e-commerce industry in Pakistan,” said Managing Director Asian Region Kaymu.pk Ahmed Khan in an interview with The Express Tribune.
“Pakistan e-commerce industry has just started its journey and the youth is driving this sector,” he added.
Kaymu.pk launched in Pakistan in January 2013 and is known as one of the best online platforms with 600 retailers offering their products to online shoppers. Khan believes that they still have a long journey and a big market to cover.
The portal is maturing some 1,000 transactions daily with an average turnover of Rs1.2 million per day. According to Khan, around 40% of the total transactions are of the apparel and jewelry segments. Due to suspicion and other issues with using plastic for payments, more than 99% of transactions are cash-based.
Khan said that the online transaction ratio will surge once the use of plastic money becomes common and the number of smartphone users also increase with the introduction of 3G and 4G services.
The exercise for online shopping via different portals for convenient shopping is increasing with each passing day. E-commerce is now spreading and is creating its share in the overall retail segment, with small, medium and large-scale retailers becoming eager to sell their products via such portals.


http://tribune.com.pk/story/694838/expansion-e-commerce-future-bright-in-pakistan/

http://www.kaymu.com/

http://www.rocket-internet.de/about-us
Riaz Haq said…
With the global mobile applications (apps) market expected to be worth $25 billion by 2015 — according to a report published by MarketsandMarkets, a global market research and consulting company — everyone, from independent developers and software houses to telecommunication (telecoms) giants, is hard at work to secure their share of the fully-baked pie.
Amid growing demand and increasing competition, many are chasing high-margin outsourcing contracts in developing countries such Pakistan. With an abundance of skilled but cheap labour to offer, the country is rapidly emerging as one of the leading IT outsourcing destinations of the world.
Although mobile apps have been around since the late 90s, the increasing penetration of smartphones in the country — nearly seven to eight million smartphones according to a recent research conducted by a local telecom for its marketing strategy — has made their presence felt more deeply. “The number of smartphones has exceeded the number of computers in the country and this change has come about in the past five years,” says Asad Memon, director operations at Creative Chaos, a high-end custom software development company in Karachi with over 14 years of experience.
It is also the burgeoning utility of smartphones — surpassing that of laptops — which has accounted for the explosive growth of mobile apps. For example, the smartphone’s additional features, such as the orientation sensor (built-in compass) and cell phone triangulation (which collects data to trace the approximate location of a cell phone), assist most apps, including Google maps, to do ingenious things. “The utility of these apps has started making a lot of sense to people,” he highlights, adding that even niche brands have capitalised on the feature to directly reach out to target audiences by advertising through mobile apps. As a result, it has attracted more developers into the technology ecosystem to meet the growing demand.

Asad Memon, director operations at Creative Chaos, traces the trajectory of the mobile apps industry. PHOTO: ARIF SOOMRO
A popular outsourcing destination
When it comes to the global market, Pakistan plays its part as a mobile app developer. “Gora sochta hai, desi karta hai,” says Memon, summarising how foreign clients conceptualise the app and leave Pakistani developers to simply follow directions. Since the average rate charged by an iPhone app developer in the US ranges between $50 and $60 per hour, or more, depending on the brand and the complexity of the app, a cheaper solution is to outsource it to countries that quote the lowest price. Despite India being a much cheaper alternative, their issues with quality-control make Pakistan the next best alternative. “What sets Pakistan apart is the costing and the relationship of trust that has been established by delivering quality apps on time, depending on the company [developing the app],” says Memon. A basic app developed by a local software house can cost anywhere between Rs400,000 to Rs10 million, while the more sophisticated ones can go up to Rs20 million, depending on the company’s profile. Time difference is an additional advantage for Pakistan. “By the time we wake up, we are ready to incorporate changes based on the feedback we get,” he says. In certain cases, a team of 140 developers is dedicated to look after a single foreign client.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/786759/mobile-applications-a-test-of-apptitude/
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan-born Imran Aftab was traveling in 2004 when an AOL Time Warner colleague posed a rude question.

“Imran, you’re from Pakistan, yet you seem normal,” Aftab recalled. “What is the problem with the rest?”

Aftab, then director of global outsourcing at AOL, spent half an hour explaining that there was more to the millions of Pakistanis than the public perception after the Sept. 11, 2001, tragedy.

“People see all bad news. I thought, ‘How can I change things even at a small scale through business?’ ”

After that trip, the chemistry major decided to use his knowledge of outsourcing at AOL to start his own business that could make money while also helping his fellow citizens in Pakistan.

The business he created is called 10Pearls, a profitable custom software company based in Herndon, Va., and Pakistan. The company has more than 150 software experts supervised by Aftab’s brother in a 33,000-square-foot office in Karachi. Only about 15 employees work in Herndon.

Aftab creates customized software for all kinds of interfaces, including mobile platforms, kiosks and Web sites. Clients include NVR, Time Warner Cable, Discovery Education, National Geographic and Zubie, a spinoff of Best Buy.

For Zubie, 10Pearls helped develop an Android and Apple application that allows people to see where their cars are located, diagnose auto repair issues and track historical routes.

Although 10Pearls is relatively small, with revenues of less than $10 million, Aftab said it has been profitable since it began 11 years ago making Web pages for handyman businesses.

The company, which Aftab calls a social experiment, reminds me of the “double bottom line” businesses that Washington sports mogul Ted Leonsis espouses. That refers to business that earns profits while accomplishing some social good.

“I see that business causes positive impact,” said Aftab, who makes three visits a year to his native country. “It can change things even at a small scale. Business is a good way for people to learn about each other.”
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“I see that business causes positive impact,” said Aftab, who makes three visits a year to his native country. “It can change things even at a small scale. Business is a good way for people to learn about each other.”

The enterprise isn’t all about altruism.

Pakistan is a good candidate for outsourcing because of its large English-speaking population — 180 million or so — that is tech-savvy, has mathematical skills and whose labor costs are far below that of the United States and other developed countries.

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He knew the bigger money was in developing software applications, but he had to build experience first. He quit AOL Time Warner in 2005 and worked as a consultant while he grew 10Pearls.

Bigger contracts started coming in, including one from a big telecommunications firm that needed help. During the Great Recession that started in 2008, business stagnated and 10Pearls pivoted to mobile applications.

“I could see that mobile was going to grow explosively,” he said.

The company’s big break arrived in 2011, when it won a highly competitive contract to build a mobile application for Social Radar, a Washington company started by Blackboard co-founder Michael Chasen. A key part of Social Radar’s business is that the app allows users to interact with people in the immediate vicinity.

The deal with Chasen helped establish 10Pearls’ credibility. That led to more and larger mobile app contracts....


http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/pakistan-native-tries-to-demystify-his-native-country-with-software-start-up/2014/12/20/c897fc30-8499-11e4-b9b7-b8632ae73d25_story.html
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan, the Next #software Hub? 1500 registered #informationtechnology companies, 10,000 IT grads every year. http://nyti.ms/1P0Yfdu

Pakistan’s I.T. sector is carving a niche for itself as a favored place to go for freelance I.T. programmers, software coders and app designers. There are now 1,500 registered I.T. companies in Pakistan, and 10,000 I.T. grads enter the market every year. Energetic members of the middle class educated in Pakistan’s top universities, they have honed their skills at the many hackathons, start-up fairs and expos, digital summits and entrepreneurial events at campuses, software houses and I.T. associations across the country.

Next comes showcasing their skills to a global market in order to grow businesses. So Pakistani freelance programmers flock to global freelance hiring sites such as Upwork, or fiverr.com, where digital employers in the United States, Australia or Britain bid to hire programmers for small software and app projects. On these platforms, hiring someone from Pakistan becomes as easy as hiring someone from Ireland or India, because traditional concerns about security, corruption and invasive bureaucracy in Pakistan do not apply.

The formula is working: the Pakistani programmers market ranks as the No. 3 country for supplying — freelance programmers — behind only the United States and India, and up from No. 5 just two years ago. It ranks in the upper 10 to 25 percent on Upwork’s listing of growth rates for top-earning countries, alongside India, Canada and Ukraine. Pakistan’s freelance programmers already account for $850 million of the country’s software exports; that number could go up to $1 billion in the next several months, says Umar Saif, who heads the Punjab I.T. Board and previously taught and did research work at M.I.T.

The optimism one hears in Karachi and Lahore even withstood a scandal last May, when news broke that Axact, one of Pakistan’s largest I.T. companies, was operating as a fake degree mill. Members of the tight-knit I.T. community reacted at first with fears for Pakistan’s chances to become a major player on the world’s I.T. stage. Perhaps those fears acted as a spur to the authorities, who arrested Axact’s chief within weeks after the scheme was laid bare.

In any event, three days after investigators raided Axact’s offices, Naseeb Networks International, a Lahore-based company that runs the online job marketplace Rozee.pk, announced that it had won a third round of investments, worth $6.5 million, from the European investment firms Vostok Nafta and Piton Capital, bringing the company’s total venture capital funding to $8.5 million. It was the latest in a series of large venture capital investments in Pakistan over the last year and a half.

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It’s now also faster and easier for foreign companies to acquire the apps these programmers create, in contrast with negotiating traditional service contracts, and Mr. Saif anticipates that such start-ups will themselves become targets for acquisition by overseas companies.

According to him, venture capital is the one missing ingredient in an enabling environment that the government, universities and software associations are building. Per Brilioth, the managing director of Vostok Nafta Investment, agrees. “The macro indicators and demographics are very strong,” he said, “and the country doesn't seem to get a lot of investor attention, so valuations are reasonable."

Those factors — and the rapidity with which Pakistan’s 200 million people are embracing the Internet on sub-$50 Chinese 3G smartphones — are markers on which Pakistan’s entrepreneurial leaders pin their hopes for the future. They see problems like Axact as bumps in the road as Pakistan builds a haven for I.T. development.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/11/opinion/bina-shah-pakistan-the-next-software-hub.html?_r=0
Riaz Haq said…
Sixteen-year-old Raffay Ansari is a self-taught programmer. He’s been an iOS developer for over three years and has now graduated into full-stack, meaning he’s comfortable working with a number of different languages as well as both back-end and front-end technologies. The teenage prodigy from Pakistan has earned several thousand dollars freelancing online, coded games that have attracted about 8 million cumulative downloads, and is now on the brink of launching his own start-up....Raffay has Ataxia, which means he has difficulty walking, speaking clearly, writing, reading, and other activities that require fine motor control. Raffay tells Tech in Asia that his muscles continue to weaken, even after his diagnosis over two years ago.

“The disease is more of a gift to me. As I can’t sleep much at night, I utilise the time learning new things instead. People treat me differently and are always willing to help. It’s a huge advantage,” he beams.

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The internet became Raffay’s teacher. He taught himself how to code through free online courses, primarily from Code Academy. His parents were initially reluctant to encourage his sudden interest in programming, but warmed up to the idea once they saw his passion for it. By the age of 13, he had successfully bid for and completed his first freelance assignment – coding the iOS game Mr Flap.

Raffay is now on the brink of launching his own start-up, Odyssy, which he describes as a data-driven content management system (CMS) targeted at bloggers and publishers who aren’t very technologically savvy and who don’t want to spend time coding in HTML. He reveals Odyssy is on the brink of closing its seed funding round – $20,000 from an angel investor based out of Islamabad.


http://www.business-standard.com/article/companies/meet-the-16-year-old-self-taught-coder-from-pakistan-115083100538_1.html

https://www.techinasia.com/this-self-taught-coder-probably-has-more-entrepreneurial-experience/
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan IT industry climbing up to no 3 to grab world attention with its freelancers http://www.thecitizen.in/index.php/OldNewsPage/?Id=6771&Pakistan%2FClimbs%2FUp%2FIT%2FLadder%2C%2FCatches%2FGlobal%2FAttention …

Pakistan’s tiny IT sector is carving out a niche for itself -- so much so that it has been the subject of several stories in international publications such as the New York Times, the Global Post, Al Jazeera, to name a few. Perhaps the interest is because of the obvious potential of the industry: There are now 1,500 registered IT companies in Pakistan, and 10,000 IT grads enter the market every year.

Perhaps even more significantly, the democratisation of demand as facilitated by the internet-era, has enabled Pakistan to climb up market ranks to become the No. 3 country for supplying freelance programmers, behind only the United States and India, and up from No. 5 just two years ago. This is because programmers in Pakistan can easily sign up to platforms such as Upwork or Fiverr, where the person hiring them is less interested in their location and more concerned with their skill. Because the programmer in Pakistan is using a third party platform, logistical, bureaucratic and other constraints that are typically associated with Pakistan, including corruption, do not apply.

As reported by The New York Times, Pakistan ranks in the upper 10 to 25 percent on Upwork’s listing of growth rates for top-earning countries, alongside India, Canada and Ukraine. Pakistan’s freelance programmers already account for $850 million of the country’s software exports; that number could go up to $1 billion in the next several months, says Umar Saif, who heads the Punjab IT Board and previously taught and did research work at M.I.T.

As reported by the Global Post, Pakistan’s software export industry employs some 24,000 people, according to government figures. Most companies in Pakistan’s IT sector — including mobile game studios — are growing at more than 30 percent a year, says Pakistan’s software industry trade body, P@SHA.

With success come challenges, and Pakistan’s nascent IT industry faced its first such challenge last May, when news broke that Axact, one of Pakistan’s largest IT companies, was operating as a fake degree mill. Authorities acted fast, arrested Axact’s chief within days, though the controversy did lead many to comment on whether the country’s IT industry stood a chance in the long-term.

That question was answered almost immediately, when just three days after the Axact controversy, Naseeb Networks International, a Lahore-based company that runs the online job marketplace Rozee.pk, announced that it had won a third round of investments worth $6.5 million, from the European investment firms Vostok Nafta and Piton Capital. The latest round of funding brought the company’s total venture capital funding to $8.5 million.

Or take the example of Caramel Tech Studios, a Pakistan-based mobile game startup that created the sensation “Fruit Ninja” for an Australian developer. Another such startup in Pakistan is Mindstorm Studios, maker of “Whacksy Taxi,” a racing game that topped Apple’s App Store in more than 25 countries.

And while constraints such as bureaucracy, shortage of land/space for offices, power shortages, et cetera remain a challenge, they are offset by positives, most importantly cost. “If we have a million dollars in the bank ... in the US we might only be able to make one and a half games, whereas here we might be able to make 10 games,” Saad Zaeem of Caramel Tech Studios told The Global Post, adding that graduates here are as qualified as Western ones and cost a lot less to employ, giving software startups a competitive advantage over high-wage Western countries.

Further, the rise of the mobile software market has been a huge gamechanger. “Prior to the iPhone …
Riaz Haq said…
Online #freelancing grows in #Pakistan, earnings reach $1b in 2016. #InfoTech #Software
https://tribune.com.pk/story/1379351/online-freelancing-grows-pakistan-earnings-reach-1b/


the Punjab IT Board chairman quoted a conservative figure of 150,000 Pakistani freelancers, earning combined revenue of roughly $1 billion. This fairly high number is despite the fact that so far the phenomenon of online freelancing in Pakistan has grown without any significant government support.

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