Investment in digital businesses: Pakistan formally invites China
Investment in digital businesses: Pakistan formally invites China. Pakistan on Tuesday formally invited China to invest in the country’s digital businesses including manufacturing of mobile phone handsets and other digital equipments for promotion and growth of the sector. Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing called on Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui on Tuesday.
Talking exclusively to Business Recorder, Secretary Ministry of IT and Telecommunication Shoaib Ahmad Siddiqui said that the meeting was held in a cordial environment where Pakistan tabled proposals for investment in IT sectors – the seventh pillar of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
“Yes we sought China’s support in setting manufacturing plants for digital purposes including mobile handsets and would wait for their positive response,” he added.
According to an official statement of the IT Ministry, the federal minister for IT and telecommunication welcomed the Chinese ambassador in his office, and during the meeting matters of mutual interests and relating to information technology and e-commerce were discussed.
The federal minister said that Pakistan and China are enjoying deep friendly relations and these ties will further enhance in future.
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He emphasized the need of boosting cooperation between Pakistan and China in IT and telecom sector.
He said that Pakistan wants to get benefit from Chinese experience in IT sector. He also sought China’s help in training Pakistan’s youth in IT skills, besides starting youth exchange program between the two countries.
He said that environment in Pakistan is conducive for Chinese companies to invest in IT and telecom sector in Pakistan as IT and telecom sector has great potential.
The Chinese ambassador lauded the role of Ministry of IT regarding the promotion of IT in the country and gave assurance for enhancing China’s collaboration with Pakistan in the sector.
Shoaib Ahmad Siddiqui and senior officers of the Ministry were also present in the meeting.
Siddiqui said that Chinese cooperation in this sector would help in attracting investment, creation of job opportunities, automation and cost saving.
“The IT is the 7th pillar of long-term CPEC framework and the ministry is pleading for its formal activation. The proposed ICT sector development under the CPEC framework is comprised on artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing, robotics, emerging technology, automation, e-governance and manufacturing plants as well as technology parks,” he said.
Pakistan is fast-growing telecom market with subscribers of mobile phones having crossed the 161 million mark compared with the country’s population of around 210 million. Of total subscribers, around 70 million use 3G/4G. There are 71 million broadband subscribers. The country imports millions of dollars of mobile phones to meet the local requirements with manufacturing and assembling of handheld devices not present in the country.
The government has dropped the Telephone Industry of Pakistan (TIP) from the privatization list and is mulling to establish mobile phone handsets plant in collaboration with private sector for its revival. The government is engaged with different Chinese company for establishing mobile handset manufacturing plant in Haripur.
The move would help in reducing the country’s import bill, create jobs and save huge foreign exchange reserves.
The ministry envisages exploring new business models for future projects and joint ventures in the country. Further Chinese government can contribute to the e-governance initiative as well in centralizing data to improve efficiency and productivity.
The investment in the IT and telecom sector would increase manifold with the inclusion of this sector into the CPEC framework.