PakAlumni Worldwide: The Global Social Network

The Global Social Network

Military Brings Computer Manufacturing to Pakistan

Military-run Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) at Kamra has launched manufacturing of Android tablets, Android eBook readers and Windows/Linux notebook computers.

All three products are being offered by Commercial Products Manufacturing Cell (CPMC), a join venture of Pakistan Aeronautical Complex Kamra (PAC) and Hong Kong-based INNAVTEK. Initial prices range from Rs. 8,000 for PAC eBook reader tablet, to Rs. 15,000 for PAC PAD 1 tablet computer and Rs. 23,500 for PAC nBook notebook.

PAC PAD is the first to be manufactured in Pakistan, but not the first tablet offered for sale in Pakistan. Last year, PTCL also launched an Android based thin 7 inch tablet computer with EVO 3G and WiFi connectivity built-in. 3G EVO Tab is a 7 inch touch screen tablet with built-in EVO service to offer wireless broadband internet on the go in more than 100 cities and towns across Pakistan. Powered by Google Android Froyo 2.2 Operating system, 3G EVO Tab offers support for both 3G and Wi-Fi for an un-interrupted on-the-go connectivity. With a 5 MegaPixel Camera, a variety of built-in applications, 3G EVO Tab lets users browse, snap, share, communicate, navigate, play games and do a lot more on-the go, thereby making it an ideal connectivity solution for users looking for high speed on-the-go 3G connectivity on an Android platform. PTCL 3G EVO Tab offers convenience and speed with three diverse economy packages to suit individual needs and pockets. Its 12-month bundle offer has been very successful with majority sales in this bracket.Customers can get EVO Tab for as low as Rs 7,999 plus 12-month unlimited EVO service, all at Rs 31,999. In addition to the 12-month contract, EVO Tab offers bundled packages based on 3 and 6 month contracts at Rs 27,999 and Rs 29,999, respectively with 3 and 6 month of unlimited EVO service.

PAC's PAD is being built at Kamra complex that has set up advanced electronics manufacturing facilities used for building avionics for Pakistan's JF-17 fighter. A PAC press release issued at the launch of the project said that “for the joint production of JF-17, PAF [Pakistan Air Force] had established sufficient facilities which are appropriate for the production of both defence and commercial products.” CPMC website explains that “Innavtek jointly developed two products with (PAC's) Avionics Production Factory which are successfully flying on fleet of our JF-17 aircraft and three more products are under co development phase.”

History tells us that the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) has played a huge role in China's phenomenal industrial progress and its emergence as the factory of the world in the last few decades. Even in the free-market capitalist system of the United States, great inventions like semiconductor chips, computers the Internet have their origins in the defense establishment. The US military has played a key role in funding research, development and manufacturing industries to support America's military-industrial complex and its space program. In spite of some of the well-deserved criticisms of the the world's biggest military-industrial and space complex in America, no one can deny that a lot of innovation, jobs growth and economic expansion has flowed from it to benefit the American society at large.

The latest PAC-Kamra venture is a good example of how military projects can help spawn commercial industries in Pakistan, essentially replicating the American and the Chinese industrial experience.

With experience and economies of scale, PAC computer products are likely to follow the traditional cost curve of electronics products and become more powerful and affordable for larger numbers of Pakistani customers. Growing domestic market for computers should also attract private investment in the sector and stimulate the national economy by creating more skilled jobs, and help boost human development and productivity.

PAC computer products have the potential to enable huge opportunities for education, communication, business and entertainment. Take distance learning as an example. The quickest and the most cost-effective way to broaden access to education at all levels is through online schools, colleges and universities. Sitting at home in Pakistan, self-motivated learners can watch classroom lectures at world's top universities including UC Berkeley, MIT and Stanford. More Pakistanis can pursue advanced degrees by enrolling and attending the country's Virtual University that offers instructions to thousands of enrolled students via its website, video streaming and Youtube and television channels.

PAC products can be expected to contribute to the ongoing information revolution in Pakistan by making information and education more accessible to a larger cross-section of Pakistani society. Such a revolution is essential for Pakistan to rapidly move into the 21st century, and reap full demographic dividend of its youthful population which is naturally attracted to modern gadgetry of computing and communications.

I applaud Pakistan's military for taking a page from the Chinese PLA playbook. As the only robust and well-functioning institution of Pakistani state, the military should do whatever is necessary to strengthen the nation's industry, economy, human capital and national security, regardless of any critics, including Ayesha Siddiqa Agha and her myriad fans. This is the best way forward to a well-educated, industrialized, prosperous and democratic Pakistan in the future.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Military's Role in Pakistan's Industrialization

Pakistan's Demographic Dividend

Pakistan's Defense Industry Goes High-Tech

Pakistan Launches UAV Production Line at Kamra

Pakistan Going Mainstream in IT Products

Pakistan Launches 100 Mbps FTTH Access

Pakistan's $2.8 Billion IT Industry

Pakistan's Software Prodigy

Views: 371

Tags: Computer, Manufacturing, Pakistan

Comment by Riaz Haq on February 14, 2012 at 9:14pm

Here's ProPakistani.com story on Punjab govt giving away laptops to students:

Shahbaz Sharif, Chief Minister Punjab, today launched the free laptop scheme in Punjab, under which 110,000 free laptops will be given away to bright students in the province.

During a launch ceremony at Punjab University Lahore, Mr. Sharif announced that giveaway of 110,000 laptops will be start from February 2nd, 2012 in Rahim Yar Khan and will run district wise to complete the delivery in whole province by end of March.

He mentioned that Punjab Government spent Rs. 4 billion for 110,000 free laptops, while another 300,000 laptops are likely to be approved for free giveaway next year.

Chief Minister also unveiled his plans for providing free internet connection at home for students, however, he said that procedures are being worked out to achieve the project.

He announced that whole of Punjab University and its campuses will be equipped with WiFi for free and portable internet access. It is likely that other government universities will be converted into such hotspots as well.

On the occasion, he unveiled Dell Laptops that are supposed to be given away in the scheme. Black skinned laptops are going to be for boys while red colored laptops for the girls.

It appears that Laptops given away to students are Dell Inspiron N5050.

http://propakistani.pk/2012/01/30/punjab-laptop-scheme-launched-fre...

Comment by Riaz Haq on March 13, 2012 at 9:46pm

Here's an interview report on growth of broadband in Pakistan:

BR Research: What does it really mean when PTCL says 'Hello to the future'?

Naveed Saeed: PTCL has undergone massive transition since it has been taken over by Etisalat in 2006.

Now, it's a transformed company with a new outlook, new culture, new management, and new focus, and has become more customer-friendly and customer-centric.

It has moved on to the next level, and launched new services for both the wireless and wire line segments.

Today, PTCL's portfolio includes services like Smart TV and EVO, and products like Smartphones and tablets.

This essentially takes us into the futuristic direction.

Thanks to the large platform and network available with PTCL, our capacities to design, host, store and manage multiple services are immense.

So, we are actually telling our customers to say "Hello to the future" with PTCL.

This reflects our brand philosophy and our future direction in the business.

BRR: But the bread and butter for PTCL still remain its Voice business, whose revenues are on a constant decline for many years now.

NS: PTCL's voice revenue is still quite substantial, and we are trying to protect and maintain our share of voice in this hyper-price-sensitive market.

We have seen shrinkage in our fixed line subscriptions, but that has ceased now, and the current subscribers are from the business community and households.

We feel that Voice will eventually become a value-added service because the growth that we are having from the broadband services is expected to outgrow Voice revenues in the coming years.

We are expanding accordingly.

Today, we have close to 800,000 DSL users, over 200,000 EVDO users, and these numbers are growing.

These are high revenue and high margin customers, so it makes more business sense for us to sell one broadband connection rather than running after 3 or 4 PSTN connections.

BRR: So, what is the strategy in action at PTCL, to diversify the revenue mix away from Voice to other emerging segments?

NS: The strategy is to make the PSTN connection a prerequisite for a customer to avail broadband services.

For the future, we are contemplating to offer double play services, rather than giving the PSTN connection alone.

That's the model, and then we'll gradually go for triple play (voice, data and video), and then quad play which includes surveillance, too.

Our "PTCL Jadoo campaign" is a step in that direction, which offers a PSTN connection, bundled with DSL broadband, IPTV, wifi hotspot and EVO backup.

Our business is to specialise in certain domains and provide customised solutions in every single one of them.

Through unified connectivity platforms, we are moving towards cloud services where businesses would have dumb terminals and computers at their end, and their data storage would be happening at our end.

That's the dimension we are moving towards where businesses get rid of their data warehouses and telephone terminals, and depend on us from emails to phone calls (VoIP) to broadband to mobility.

We have the capacity to offer all these services under one umbrella.

BRR: How well-poised is PTCL to take advantage of the evolving data-age in Pakistan?

NS: Globally, data connectivity platforms, which are more efficient and accessible, are being used for Voice services, too.

Smartphones and tablets, coupled with a plethora of applications, have given a boom to this data age.

The Pakistani telecom market, which has hit saturation point in the Voice segment, is going in

Comment by Riaz Haq on April 22, 2012 at 9:26pm

Here's a BBC story on an experiment involving slum children learning to use computers on their own:

(Prof Mitra) has watched the children teach themselves - and others - how to use the machines and gather information.
-------
Professor Mitra's work began (in 1999) when he was working for a software company and decided to embed a computer in the wall of his office in Delhi that was facing a slum.

"The children barely went to school, they didn't know any English, they had never seen a computer before and they didn't know what the internet was."

To his surprise, the children quickly figured out how to use the computers and access the internet.

"I repeated the experiment across India and noticed that children will learn to do what they want to learn to do."

He saw children teaching each other how to use the computer and picking up new skills.

One group in Rajasthan, he said, learnt how to record and play music on the computer within four hours of it arriving in their village.

"At the end of it we concluded that groups of children can learn to use computers on their own irrespective of who or where they are," he said.

His experiments then become more ambitious and more global.

In Cambodia, for example, he left a simple maths game for children to play with.

"No child would play with it inside the classroom. If you leave it on the pavement and all the adults go away then they will show off to one another about what they can do," said Prof Mitra, who now works at Newcastle University in the UK.

He has continued his work in India.
Stress test

"I wanted to test the limits of this system," he said. "I set myself an impossible target: can Tamil speaking 12-year-olds in south India teach themselves biotechnology in English on their own?"

The researcher gathered 26 children and gave them computers preloaded with information in English.

"I told them: 'there is some very difficult stuff on this computer, I won't be surprised if you don't understand anything'."

Two months later, he returned.

Initially the children said they had not learnt anything, despite the fact that they used the computers everyday.

"Then a 12-year-old girl raised her hand and said 'apart from the fact that improper replication of the DNA contributes to genetic disease - we've understood nothing else'."

Further experiment showed that having a person - known as "the granny figure" - stand behind the children and encourage them raised standards even higher.

Returning to the UK, he fine-tuned his method even further.

He gave groups of four children a computer each and set them a series of GCSE questions.

The groups were allowed to exchange information and swap members.

"The best group solved everything in 20 minutes, the worst in 45 minutes."

To prove that the children were learning, and not just skimming information off the web, he returned two months later and set the same questions. Crucially, this time the children had to answer them on their own with no computer aids.

"The average score when I did it with computers was 76%. When I did it without computers, the average score was 76% - they had near photographic recall."

Professor Mitra has now formalised the lessons from his experiments and has come up with a new concept for schools called SOLE (Self Organised Learning Environments).

These spaces consist of a computer with a bench big enough to let four children sit around the screen.

"It doesn't work if you give them each a computer individually," he said.

For his experiments he has also created a "granny cloud" - 200 volunteer grandmothers who can be called upon to video chat with the kids and provide encouragement..

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-10663353

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 12, 2012 at 9:52am

Here's an ET report on Takhti, Kamra's new tablet PC:

Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) Kamra, a unit of Pakistan military, is set to launch Takhti 7, an android tabled-computer, reported ProPakistani on Tuesday. The first three products produced by PAC are a computing tablet (PAC Pad1), a notebook (PAC nbook 1) and an eBook reader (PAC eBook1).

The PAC Kamra, whose self-described mission is “to produce and support weapon systems for a high state of operational readiness of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF)” has partnered with a Chinese company Innavtek International to produce Takhti 7, a better form of PAC Pad1.

The report said that Takhti 7, priced at Rs15,500, has an enhanced hardware with a double RAM and better ARM Cortex-A8 processor, and also boasts of a 7-inch capacitive screen and improved battery time. It also uses Android Ice Cream Sandwich instead of Android Gingerbread used by the PAC Pad1.

However, PAC is still struggling with its sales network. Earlier a PAC official told The Express Tribune that the products were initially being marketed in Rawalpindi, but modalities needed to be finalised so it could expand to other cities including Lahore and Karachi.

“We will get in touch with courier companies to see if we can reach a deal to transport them,” he said.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/392527/pakistan-military-introduces-new...

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 26, 2012 at 10:20pm

Here's a story of India's $20 Akash II tablet PC:

Suneet Tuli, the 44-year-old CEO of UK/Canadian/Indian startup Datawind, is having a taxing day. “I’m underwater,” he says as he struggles to find a cell signal outside a restaurant in Mumbai. Two days from then, on Sunday Nov. 11, the president of India, Pranab Mukherjee, will have unveiled the seven-inch Aakash 2 tablet computer Tuli’s company is selling to the government for distribution to 100,000 university students and professors. (If things go well, the government plans to order as many as 5.86 million.) In the meantime, Tuli is deluged with calls from reporters, and every day his company receives thousands of new orders for the commercial version of the Aakash 2. Already, he’s facing a backlog of four million unfulfilled pre-orders.

We’re speaking over the same overtaxed cellular networks that he hopes will enable Datawind to educate every schoolchild in India through the world’s cheapest functional tablet computer. But it’s a losing battle, as his connection to one of the 13 separate cell carriers in Mumbai buckles under too much competing traffic. He has to repeat himself when he tells me the ultimate price university students will pay for his tablet, after half its cost has been subsidized by the Indian government.

It’s $20.

In India, that’s a quarter the cost of competing tablets with identical specifications. Similar tablets in China, the world champion in low-cost components and manufacturing, go for $45 and up, wholesale. Which means the Aakash 2 isn’t just the cheapest fully functional tablet PC on the planet because the Indian government has decided it should be—it’s the cheapest, period.

In the developing world, and especially in India, a country where one billion people have a monthly income less than $200, every rupee matters. Aakash means “blue sky” in Hindi, and that’s a fair description of Datawind’s goals for the tablet. Ultimately, says Tuli, the government would like to distribute one to each of India’s 220 million students. India has 900 million cell phone subscriptions, but in a country where smartphones are rare, 95% of Indians have no computing device. Which means the Aakash, or something like it, could become the sole computer for hundreds of millions of people in India, not to mention elsewhere in the developing world.

Unlike the failed Aakash 1, which was supposed to roll out in 2011 but which was so under-powered that it was virtually unusable, the Aakash 2 is no toy. Even jaded US gadget reviewers have found it as usable as tablets costing many times more. It has a processor as powerful as the first iPad and twice as much RAM memory. It uses Google’s Android operating system, which now runs on three out of four smartphones and four out of 10 tablets shipped worldwide. Its LCD touchscreen displays full-screen video without hiccups, it browses the web, and it even holds up when playing videogames. If you’re a student with no other computing device, attaching a keyboard to it transforms it into a serviceable replacement for a traditional PC...

http://qz.com/26244/how-a-20-tablet-from-india-could-finish-off-pc-...

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 27, 2012 at 11:03am

Here's Asia Tribune on Chinese origins of India's Akash II tablet PC:


New Delhi, 25 November (Asian tribune.com):

Doubts have arisen whether India’s tech-showpiece Aakash 2, the world's cheapest tablet, was actually made in China?

Union Minister Kapil Sibal had tom-tommed the achievement which was meant to help students who cannot afford expensivePCs or Laptops.

Documents reviewed by the Hindustan Times show DataWind founders and NRI brothers Suneet and Raja Singh Tuli may have procured these devices off-the-shelf from manufacturers in China for $42 ( Rs. 2,263 then), exactly the price at which they sold these to the Indian government.

DataWind bought more than 10,000 or more "A 13" made-in-China tablets from at least four manufacturers in Shenzhen and Hong Kong between October 26 and November 7.

These were shipped to India duty-free as they were meant for school students under an HRD ministry programme. Last year, Canada-based DataWind won a bid to supply 100,000 low-cost computing devices to students. Aakash 2, which is meant to be India-made, is part of that agreement.

DataWind had no role either in the design or manufacturing of Aakash 2 tablets, a source said.

Documents with HT show that DataWind bought the tablets from at least four manufacturers, Dasen International Electronics, Shenzhen Shitong Zhaoli Technology, Kalong Technology and Trend Grace Ltd.

DataWind's manufacturing partner in Hyderabad --- VMC Systems---had not built any device over the last couple of months, said a source. Its manufacturing partners and facilities in Delhi and Amritsar, respectively, too, had not produced even a single tablet over the last couple of months, the source said.

“Instead of manufacturing these low-cost tablets themselves… DataWind has simply purchased these 'off-the-shelf' from China and supplied it to the Indian government,” the source told HT.

It now appears that Datawind handed over the China-made tablets to Indian Institute of

Technology (IIT), Bombay for testing. IIT-B's role is limited to testing and installing apps. These, it emerges, were subsequently unveiled as Aakash 2 on November 11.

http://www.asiantribune.com/news/2012/11/24/india%E2%80%99s-showpie...

Comment by Riaz Haq on December 16, 2012 at 5:37pm

Here's an excerpt of Washington Times story on India's Akash Tablet PC:

..Dubbed the Aakash 2, the $25 computer was said to be the result of a project originally intended to bring Internet technology to some of the world’s poorest communities.

In front of television cameras, a bright-eyed Mr. Ban held up the computer together with India’s U.N. Ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri and Sureep Tuli, the CEO of Datawind, which claims to have manufactured the device.

Mr. Ban called India a “superpower on the information superhighway.”

“We need to do more to help all the children and young people make the most of the opportunities provided by information and communications technology,” he said.

However, the Indian press insists the computer is a sham.

Other than the name of the computer and the box it comes in, nothing else is of Indian origin, according to press reports from New Delhi.

The Hindustan Times reported that the computer is made in China, where it is known as the A-13 and sells in shops in Hong Kong and Shenzhen for $42.

Shenzhen is the unofficial capital for most of China’s computer manufacturing.

The $25 price the India’s U.N. mission proudly hyped resulted from a $17 government subsidy paid to school districts throughout India.

On its website, Datawind sells the computers for $80 a piece — a price that places the Aakash 2 in the middle range of similar products already on the market, according to Amazon.com.

Mr. Singh Puri, India’s U.N. ambassador, explained it was his idea to hold the news conference after he saw the computer during a brief visit to New Delhi earlier this year.

“I saw the Aakash 2 when I was in New Delhi and thought it would be appropriate to bring it to New York during the month when I was Security Council president,” he said, referring to India’s current role as presiding officer at the 15-member council.

Mr. Singh Puri, visibly upset, accused reporters of trying to embarrass India’s diplomatic mission with critical articles that appeared only days before he introduced the computer at the United Nations.
-----------
Datawind’s CEO Mr. Tuli told reporters that only a few parts of the computer were made in India but promised that “would change.”

“We used parts from many countries around the world, including China, but who doesn’t? In the future more parts will be made in India,” he said.

Indian reporters could not find that any of the computer’s parts made in India.

Lloyd Trufelman, a spokesman for Datawind, insisted that his company would “be eager” to provide computers for independent examination but has not said that would happen.

Ironically, cheaper Chinese computers with greater capabilities have been on sale in the United States for several months.

One company, Iview, made its cyberpad available to American consumers online this month for only $59 — without government subsidies.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/dec/16/india-defends-its-2...

Comment by Riaz Haq on February 12, 2013 at 5:26pm

Here's ET on Acer beefing up presence in Pakistan:

LAHORE: Acer, a Taiwanese multinational hardware and electronics corporation have re-launched their presence in Pakistan, with a special focus on youth and government functionaries to capture the emerging information technology market.

In September 2012, The Express Tribune reported that the government planned to spend Rs4.6 billion on IT projects during the fiscal year 2012-13 with an emphasis on strengthening e-government, human resources and infrastructure development. Keeping the investment in mind, Acer is thinking of capitalising on it.

“After relocating our operations from the Middle East to Pakistan, Acer has formally started sales and marketing operations in the country with an initial office in Islamabad since January 2013,” said Amin Mortazavi, Vice President of Acer Middle East and Africa, at the re-launch ceremony. “We are here for a purpose, which we lacked previously.”

The emerging IT sector of Pakistan, especially in Punjab, has forced Acer to shift its operations to here. “We are revamping our setup and landscape with our distributors and channel partners. This, of course, will need investments, which we have planned for future expansions.”

Moreover, this will also aid masses in acquisition of Acer products, besides generating employment opportunities, Mortazavi said.
---------
“We will launch more tablets in 2013, at affordable prices, catering the needs of the region,” Mortazavi said.

50% of Pakistan’s population is under 30 years of age and their appetite for information is big, therefore Acer seeks to tap this market segment.

Acer is also eager to work closely with the provincial government, especially after the launch of youth programmes particularly in the shape of laptop distributions. Acer was hopeful to score the contract for the scheme, which they previously failed to secure. “We are eager for this, we want to deliver, but with due process, and we are working on this also.”

The business model, which Acer is adopting for Pakistan is quite interesting. The representatives failed to answer the initial investment figures Acer made for the re-launch.

The tech firm wanted to be transparent, growing step-by-step and proceeding to the next goal only after the first one matures. The company’s Islamabad office will, firstly, focus on commercial business and work for importing latest technology. Later, Acer will revamp its entire channel programme and then run a campaign to build a brand image.

“We are not in a position to tell the exact figures of the initial investment,” said Ali Nemati, General Manager of Acer for the Middle East, the person previously supervising Acer’s Pakistani operations from Dubai. “Once we achieve the first step of the business plan, in three months, then I will be able to tell the figures,” he said.

Acer claims that they still have a 30% market share in Pakistan, despite of their absence, but the officials said that the share is not the goal for them; it is just an indicator of growth for the brand. Acer’s partners and distributors look forward to increased support from the global firm, particularly in terms of customised training, certification, and sales lead generation.

“Our partners will be able to see immediate benefits as we focus on making the channel more profitable. The Pakistani IT market is constantly evolving and is of significant importance to Acer. We have made great progress in the last few years, and empowering our channel is instrumental for our continued success,” Nemati added.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/506411/acer-re-launches-brand-in-pakistan/

Comment by Riaz Haq on February 12, 2013 at 5:45pm

Here's PakObserver on Dell business in Pakistan:

Wednesday, February 13, 2013 - Peshawar—Dell is proud to be doing its part in developing literacy and promoting education in Pakistan. Dell was recently selected to provide the provincial government of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) 25,000 Inspiron3420 computers, the first round of distribution was conducted on Feb 10 at Peshawar University.

Speaking about the initiative, Project Director KPK, Adeel Khan, said “This project is a great leap in terms of equipping our youth to meet the challenges of the modern world and to keep Pakistan a competitor in the global knowledge economy. Dell’s involvement goes a long way in guaranteeing the success of this initiative.”

The initiative is the largest of its kind ever in the province and is designed to help enable students and people of KPK to become productive and contributing members of society and to give back to the province.

Shahzad Aslam Khan, Country Manager Dell Pakistan & Afghanistan, said “We look forward to working with KPK as they increase technology access and the learning potential for students. Mobile computing devices have become essential to daily life — at work, at home and increasingly, in academic institutions. Students are leveraging devices of all kinds to access information, collaborate with their peers and teachers, and produce dynamic content inside and outside of the classroom.

At Dell, we believe these devices can help support teaching and learning – and have the potential to personalize the learning experience for each student.Dell is delighted to work with KPK in this important program and is committed to providing these devices by meeting aggressive time lines and ensuring highest product quality”.

http://pakobserver.net/detailnews.asp?id=195707

Comment by Riaz Haq on April 6, 2013 at 10:20pm

Here's an ET report on QMobile's Android smart phones in Pakistan:

...This Karachi-based company was set up by Mian Pervez Akhtar of Allied Electronics Industries – an importer, assembler and distributor of LG products in Pakistan – around five years ago. According to our sources, QMobile’s revenues have witnessed a phenomenal boost since then: for the year ended June 30, 2012, its revenues stood at Rs761 million – up by a staggering 85.8% over the previous year.

However, the company operates with a different business model as compared to companies like Samsung and Nokia: although it calls itself a mobile phone company, QMobile does not manufacture its own devices; instead, it imports them from vendors in China, and sells them under its own brand. The same phones are sold in India for example under the Micromax label.

QMobile’s growth has taken measured steps. The company started with selling basic mobile phones: “Their low-end devices still account for most of their revenues,” an industry source says. QMobile has a large customer base in rural Pakistan, which accounts for more than 65% of the population. It entered the smartphone segment relatively recently.

Its product range now includes phones with touchscreen features, QWERTY input and WiFi-accessibility. It has also launched a series of smartphones powered by the Android operating system, which is the most commonly used smartphone platform today.

QMobile has built itself a strong image in the market, because it provides fairly high-end features at prices affordable for most Pakistanis: you can now buy a branded Android smartphone for as low as Rs6,500, complete with a warranty, thanks to QMobile. This may well be the primary driver behind QMobile’s growth.

“Basic phones constituted about 90% of Pakistan’s mobile phone market five years ago, but this equation is changing now,” an industry source said. “Consumers are shifting from basic mobile phones to feature phones and smartphones, and today they account for more than 20% of the market. Out of that, smartphones alone account for more than 10% of the market,” he said.

QMobile claims to be the number two brand in the country: and industry sources say that in the absence of any accurately verifiable numbers, this may be so in terms of the volumes of units it sells.

A heavy marketing campaign has also helped the company build a strong brand name. “QMobile is a success story, especially in terms of branding,” a telecom consultant said. Its advertising budget is higher than even that of market leader Nokia, an official revealed.

This is one of the main reasons behind the brand’s success. The company has even used product placement as an advertising technique to promote its products. Take, for example, Bulbulay: a primetime sitcom, which often promotes QMobile products, one source pointed out. “This kind of advertising does not cost much, and earns the company valuable marketing: that too in prime time hours,” he said. Moreover, QMobile has always used Pakistan’s hottest celebrities in advertising its products. Pop singers Atif Aslam and Abrarul Haq have promoted QMobile phones in the past. Iman Ali has modeled for them. Hugely popular television celebrity Fawwad Khan is now promoting their top-tier Noir smartphones. All these factors have helped QMobile make a name for itself as being in a league apart from the cheap Chinese copies of popular handsets currently circulating in the market. It has achieved a measure of respect as a legitimate name in the cellular phone industry......

http://tribune.com.pk/story/532133/qmobile-conquering-the-pakistani...

Comment

You need to be a member of PakAlumni Worldwide: The Global Social Network to add comments!

Join PakAlumni Worldwide: The Global Social Network

Big Travel Discounts

Affordable Health Insurance

Pre-Paid Legal


Twitter Feed

    follow me on Twitter

    Sponsored Links

    South Asia Investor Review
    Investor Information Blog

    Haq's Musings
    Riaz Haq's Current Affairs Blog

    Please Bookmark This Page!




    Blog Posts

    Pakistani-American Dr. Asad Qamar of APPNA Among Highest Paid Doctors in America

    Dr. Asad Qamar, a graduate of Lahore's King Edwards Medical College, received $18.2 million in payments from US Medicare program in 2012, making him the second highest billing doctor in America. Dr. Qamar is a member of APPNA, Association of Physicians of Pakistani Descent in North America. He was a candidate for the presidency of APPNA in… Continue

    Posted by Riaz Haq on April 11, 2014 at 10:37am

    Pakistan's Umar Saif in Silicon Valley

    Umar Saif was invited by Organization of Pakistani-American Entrepreneurs (OPEN) to an event yesterday at the Palo Alto offices of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pitman Law Firm  in Silicon Valley to talk about the state of technology in Pakistan. The event was appropriately titled: "Presenting Umar-The Force Behind Plan 09- Pakistan's Leading Incubator For… Continue

    Posted by Riaz Haq on April 8, 2014 at 10:30am — 1 Comment

    © 2014   Created by Riaz Haq.

    Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service