Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Upwardly Mobile Pakistan's Growing Appetite For International Brands

Consumer spending in Pakistan has increased at a 26 percent average pace the past three years, compared with 7.7 percent for Asia, according to data compiled by Euromonitor International, a consumer research firm. Pakistan's rising middle class consumers  in major cities like Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad are driving sales of international brand name products and services.  Real estate developers and retailers are responding to it by opening new mega shopping malls such as Dolmen in Karachi and Centaurus in Islamabad.

Dolmen City, Clifton, Karachi

Here's a recent video of a CNN report on "British Brand Invasion" from Dolmen Mall in Clifton district of Karachi:

Pakistan has continued to offer much greater upward economic and social mobility to its citizens than neighboring India over the last two decades. Since 1990, Pakistan's middle class had expanded by 36.5% and India's by only 12.8%, according to an ADB report titled "Asia's Emerging Middle Class: Past, Present And Future.

A string of strong earnings announcements by Karachi Stock Exchange listed companies and the Central Bank's 1.5% rate cut have already helped Karachi's KSE-100 index surge nearly 50% (37% in US $ terms) in 2012 to top all Asian market indices. It was followed by Bangkok's SET index which advanced 36%. It also easily beat India's Sensex index which was the top performer among BRICs with 25.19% annual gain.

Dolmen Mall Clifton Featured on CNN from DHAToday on Vimeo.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan's Construction Boom

Educational Attainment in Pakistan

Pakistan Among Top Outsourcing Countries

Foreign Visitors to Pakistan Pleasantly Surprised

Pakistan's Infrastructure and M2 Motorway

India Pakistan Comparison 2011

Resilient Pakistan Defies Doomsayers

FMCG Consumption Boom in Rural Pakistan

Pakistan Visits Open  Indian Eyes


Mayraj said...

Pakistanis should be developing own products.

Riaz Haq said...

Mayraj: "Pakistanis should be developing own products."

Many of the products, particularly apparel, shoes, bags and other accessories, are made in Pakistan but carry international brand names.

What Pakistanis need to do is learn how to do brand name marketing with their own labels. It'll require significant marketing and promotion budgets but it could lead to much higher profits in future.

Krishna said...

Oh yeah. New car registration numbers in India are 15 times more than Pakistan, for a seven times more population. Some nice middle class you have. May be they drive car underground as part of underground economy.

Riaz Haq said...

Krishna: "New car registration numbers in India are 15 times more than Pakistan, for a seven times more population. Some nice middle class you have. May be they drive car underground as part of underground economy."

No, they drive overground with lots of AFR (applied for registration) or fake license plates to avoid taxes...a pervasive problem that reduces tax revenue to about 9% in GDP Pakistan vs 15% in India.

While we are at it, let's look at some 21st century middle class indicators like Internet penetration and college education.

1. Internet Penetration: India 11.4%, Pakistan 15.3%

Source: Internet World Stats

2. College Education: With nearly 16% of its population in 25-34 years age group having college degrees, Pakistan is well ahead of India at 12%, 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.

Source: Global Education Digest

Anonymous said...

Beautiful reply to Krishna by Riaz Haz. We are a proud nation of tax evaders. But that doesn't mean we as people are doing as bad as India. Indian government is better off collecting taxes than Pakistani Government. India even with its huge GDP and Industrialization efforts has not been able to lift significant population above the poverty line. And Pakistan inspite of being slightly better off in many sectors as Riaz Haz has mentioned is also not doing very much better than India. It's a sad situation for both countries. I don't know who has to be blamed for all this mess. Politicians, Military, Businessmen, Buraucrats.....No No No. We get a chance every 5 yrs to elect the most competent people but time and again both the nations elect the most corrupt people.

Anonymous said...

This is a sad thing for a country like pakistan. Govt should ban luxury brands so that poor people can benefit. What does pakistan as a country get by buying Gucci accessories. Pakistan middle class should instead buy gold. Pakistan govt should give priority to gold mining sector and employ people in gold mines. The Pakistan govt pays the people money to get the gold out of the earth. The people then use the money to buy back a part of the gold. Middle class should understand that they are not "RICH". Today even 10 Lakh rupees has no value in 6 months time. gold is the only saviour of the middle class.

Mahesh said...

By the way the latest news from India is internet users are growing at a 20% clip!


At about 150 million Internet users, India now has 3rd largest Internet population in the world after China (at 575m) and the US (at 275m). At 150 million total Internet users, the Internet penetration in India remains at 12 per cent vs. 43 per cent in China and 80 per cent in the US. However, the low penetration means that India presents unmatchable growth opportunity for the Internet sector in coming years. In our view, India will likely see golden period of the Internet sector between 2013 to 2018 with incredible growth opportunity and secular growth adoption for E-Commerce, Internet advertising, social media, search, online content, and services relating to E-Commerce and Internet advertising.

Here is the India Internet outlook for 2013, the first year for this golden period.

#1 Internet penetration will reach 15%. We expect India to add 30 million new Internet users in 2013 and total Internet population to touch 180mm. This implies a 20% growth in the Internet population.

#2 Time spend online will rise and directionally become comparable to US and China. As per our estimates, an Internet user in India on average is spending 13 hour per week and this number will likely reach 16 hours per week. The incremental time spend online will largely be spent on social media, photo/video sharing, E-Commerce, and utilities/banking/bill payments.


Mayraj said...

Providing opportunities: Metro’s ‘Own Brands’ helps promote local products

For entrepreneurs, who are struggling to develop business channels in the prevailing negative economic scenario of the country, German-based retail outlet Metro Cash and Carry is providing them with the “best” option to market their products through Metro’s ‘Own Brands’ section.

The concept is new to the Pakistani market, but not in other locations Metro operates in around the world. Through own brands, Metro provides an opportunity for small and medium scale industries to market their products using Metro’s distribution channels.

To accomplish this, Metro has been always keen to work with small and medium scale businesses and educates them on marketing and distribution channels for their respective products.

“We began implementation of the own brands concept in Pakistan in 2010, and since then we have launched over a thousand stock-keeping units for 85 products,” said Laeeq Durrani, head of Own Brands, Metro Cash and Carry, while talking to The Express Tribune. Another 95 products are in the pipeline, which will be launched within the next year, Durrani added.

Involving and relying on local suppliers is a basic strategy for Metro to operate in any part of the world.

In Pakistan, consumers are unaware of the own brands, however, Metro’s officials are happy with the progress in the past two years. “In the own brands aisle, the quality of the product is more or less the same compared to any recognised brand in the market, but prices are relatively cheaper,” explained Durrani.

Metro’s Own Brands were placed with competitor in 10 stores in Pakistan. The products are slowly gaining recognition among all categories of products stocked by Metro.

“This is a golden opportunity for those suppliers, who were previously stocking their products at their own or some other local retailer and facing a tough time. The Own Brands platform will enable them to display their products in Metro Cash and Carry stores across the country, but with five core brands in two price tiers and packaging designed by Metro.

Pakistan IT industry said...

Awesome work Riaz you have done an excellent job by reminding me some great prospects of Pakistan.In Pakistan now-a-days products made by people's himself but they have to improve more for Pakistan's better future.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt of a Reuters' report on Karachi shares market:

The market's benchmark index continues to soar to record highs -- up 10.34 percent year to date -- fueled in part by expectations May elections will mark Pakistan's first transfer of power from one democratic government to another. Previous civilian governments were all dismissed by Pakistan's ultimate power: the military.

"Pakistan has a lot to offer investors and this is our chance to show it," said Nadeem Naqvi, the KSE chairman. He plans to embark on a series of roadshows for potential foreign partners that will take him to London, Frankfurt and Hong Kong in the coming months.

Many of the companies listed on the KSE offer double-digit returns, low stock prices and resilient business models in this frontier market with a population of 180 million. The index still has an attractive price/earnings ratio of $8.50 despite the soaring returns of the past few years.

Pakistan now has a 4 percent weighting in the MSCI Frontiers Market Index and has become somewhat of a discovery for foreign investors chasing new markets and yields.


But the KSE's spectacular rise last year can at least be partly attributed to another factor entirely - the cleansing of "black money".

The market took off last year just as a government decree was finalized allowing people to buy stocks with no questions asked about the source of the cash. Average daily volume more than doubled last year to 173 million shares from 79 million in 2011.

Authorities say the measure will bring undocumented funds into the tax net in a country where few pay taxes. But some critics decried it as a gift to corrupt officials and criminals seeking to launder dirty cash.

"Politics and dirty money go hand in hand in Pakistan," said Dr. Ikramul Haq, a Supreme Court lawyer and a professor on tax law.

"People want to be outside the regulatory framework and outside the tax net."

The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) said it found 23 violations of securities laws that merited fines in fiscal year 2011-12 (April/March). The market regulator sent warning letters in another 19 cases, it said in its annual report. (

That's a drop in the bucket, says Ashraf Tiwana, dismissed as head of SECP's legal department after years of clashes with his bosses over fraud in the market. He has petitioned the Supreme Court to replace the SECP chairman and commissioners.

"There's a lot of fraud, a lot of market manipulation ... but not enough action has been taken, especially not enough criminal action has been taken," Tiwana told Reuters. "They're just passing small fines and giving out warning letters."

Regulators are too close to the market, Tiwana said. The head of the stock exchange is a former broker and the two top members of the SECP are former employees of Aqeel Karim Dhedhi, founder of one of the country's biggest brokerage houses.


Nicknamed "Big Dhedhi" for his ability to move markets, Aqeel Karim Dhedhi heads one of Pakistan's largest domestic conglomerates, the AKD Group.

Lately, the well-known philanthropist and leading member of Pakistan's business establishment has been trying to fend off arrest over allegations of insider trading.

An SECP investigator accused traders, including Dhedhi's brokerage, of buying shares in a state-run Sui Southern Gas Co before an official announcement allowing the company to raise its prices. In the weeks before Sui Southern's announcement, the stock price jumped from 13.5 rupees to 20 rupees, its biggest hike in five years.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a BBC report on an effort to challenge negative stereotypes of Pakistan:

A new project is using films made made in London and south Asia in an attempt to promote Pakistan as a land of opportunity rather than a failed state.

Pakistan Calling is linking film students at London Metropolitan University with students in Lahore and Karachi.

It will provide a web-platform for short films documenting positive work going on in Pakistani society.

It is a joint venture between the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) and The Samosa, a London-based British Asian website and is funded by these organisations as well as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

One of the main aims is to engage the British Pakistani diaspora in social projects "back-home" using skills and examples from the UK.
'Positive picture'

There were more than one million British Pakistanis counted in the 2011 England and Wales census (2% of the population) with the biggest concentration in the capital. Events in Pakistani cities can affect families from Ilford to Bradford.

Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the RSA, says it is vital that there is more to the conversation around Pakistan than extremism and terror.

"It's about trying to present a more positive picture of Pakistan which is far too often portrayed as a place of nothing but problems," said Mr Taylor.

"Of course, we don't think our project is going to solve all of the country's problems, but the first thing is to engage British Pakistanis to try to change the nature of the conversation.

"Only a week ago the media was full of a debate about whether we should help Pakistan when they don't even pay their taxes. A more positive conversation would make a useful contribution."
Change perceptions

The project recognises the many issues facing Pakistan - according to the World Health Organisation one in four Pakistanis live in poverty, and one in 14 children die before their fifth birthday.

Anwar Akhtar, director of Samosa, worries this situation could deteriorate.

"Pakistan's population will double over the next two or three generations. Without further provision of infrastructure, health, education and welfare, Pakistan's problems could worsen."

Those behind the project hope that by documenting positive stories in Pakistan it not only helps to change perceptions but could inspire others to follow suit.

There are also hopes to create a crowd-sourcing platform alongside the project that would mean people could directly contribute to projects similar to those shown.

Mr Taylor is optimistic that the project can have further ramifications.

"I think that's it's very clear that democracies are made possible not just by the rules of democracy - how many people vote and whether the rules of law is observed - but it's also to do with the health of civil society.

"This project talks about civil society and so contributes towards Pakistan being a democratic country."
'All-pervasive fear'

One of the most powerful accounts already featured on the website is that of Asma Jahangir, a Pakistani lawyer and human rights activist, who believes that Pakistan is at a crucial juncture.

"In one way it is very scary [where Pakistan is going]. There is an all-pervasive fear. And the future is very uncertain," she says in the film.

"At the same time, there are some very positive developments in the last five years, and that hasn't come from the government, but from people themselves."

Pakistan Calling is asking British and Pakistani film-makers to document these developments and add their own videos to the site.

Hopewins said...

Remittances at all time high; should break record in FY 13....

Hopewins said...

Finally, some praise for our economy from the UN....

Good job. Well done.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a post on Pak Internet-based business potential:

Early Days

Building Internet businesses has traditionally not come easily to Pakistan. Our first e-commerce venture began in 2001 with the establishment of Abid Beli's Although initially started as an information website for mobiles and computers, it soon turned into an e-commerce store as a result of its growing popularity.

You might then expect this venture to have turned out a success story, with Beliscity ending up being the equivalent to Amazon in Pakistan. Unfortunately this was not the case. Owing to many complications and troubles, not only was Beliscity forced to changed its name to Gulf Dealz, but it also fell into obscurity competing with countless other players in the online retail arena.

SEE ALSO: Meet Plan9, Pakistan’s First Technology Startup Incubator

Arguably Pakistan’s greatest Internet success story is Founded in 2007 by Monis Rahman as an add-on to his main business, Rozee has grown to become Pakistan’s premier portal for jobs. This journey was also not an easy one at all. When Monis was trying to raise funds through foreign investors in the second half of 2007, Pakistan was in the news almost daily with images of the bombing due to Benazir Bhutto’s arrival and her subsequent assassination.
3 Hot E-Commerce Startups to Watch in Pakistan

Those, however, were just the early days and the environment seems much more conducive to starting e-commerce ventures now. Last year will go on record as a landmark year for Internet businesses in Pakistan as three very different and important companies launched their own e-commerce portals:

TCS Connect is the online portal of TCS Couriers, Pakistan’s most reliable and wide-reaching logistics company. In May 2012, TCS launched its online shopping portal, TCS Connect, which has products like computers, mobile phones, home and kitchen appliances and even automobile accessories.

Labels eStore is the online store for Pakistan’s largest high-end fashion outlets. With its product lines covering the biggest fashion designers in Pakistan, it targets high-end consumers in the local market and the Pakistani diaspora across the world. represents the fashion vertical of the global venture developers, Rocket Internet. The company did not enter into our local online market arena at the behest of Pakistani entrepreneurs who sought funding, but rather as a ‘top-down’ decision by Oliver Samwer to capture the developing Pakistani market in the long-term.

The establishment and subsequent success of these and other businesses have led to a greater focus on e-commerce sites. They may be other clothing brands expanding their businesses online, logistics companies either starting online stores themselves or providing tools and consultancy for brick-and-mortar retail owners to start a digital side to their existing businesses, or young entrepreneurs themselves wanting to get into this nascent business.

Whatever the case, online stores are here to stay in Pakistan and will only attain a ...

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Toronto Globe & Mail on Karachi's stock market:

The seaside metropolis of Karachi is Pakistan’s largest city, its commercial hub and a city plagued by violence. Adding to the already volatile mix is the Pakistan Taliban, which is now firmly embedded in Karachi. But amidst the mayhem, businesses are thriving and capital markets are soaring.

In old Karachi, behind metal gates, barriers and security checks is a low-rise office block from which Canadian Nadeem Naqvi steers the country’s largest stock market: the Karachi Stock Exchange, with a market capitalization of $41.5-billion.

Mr. Naqvi moved to Pakistan in 2005 and took on the managing director job in 2011 with a mandate to modernize the exchange.

The KSE has a market capitalization of $41.5-billion – a tenth of the size of the Bombay stock market. Last year, it ranked among the top emerging markets in Asia.

With historic democratic elections scheduled for May 11, Mr. Naqvi spoke to The Globe and Mail about his optimism about Karachi and Pakistan.

What has it been like steering the exchange – it must be a roller coaster?

In one word: exhilarating. Not without sleepless nights, I can assure you. … On the political front there have been ups and downs, although I was lucky enough to be in an era when we had uninterrupted democratic set-up – the quality of that democratic set-up as a point aside. But that was a first for Pakistan. And now we are in the process of the first democratic transfer of power from one democratic set-up to the next … We have faced direct backlash as a result of Pakistan’s role in terms of war on terror and the backlash Pakistanis have to face every day. But within that dire dynamics you have seen a stock market that has performed incredibly well last year. It was up 50 per cent in local currency terms – the KSE100 Index – and it was up 36 per cent in U.S. dollar terms making it one of the top three best performing emerging markets in Asia last year.....

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Daily Times report on PUMA shoe store in Karachi:

KARACHI: PUMA, a leading International sports brand on Friday launched a new outlet in Dolmen Mall, Karachi. This outlet is so far the biggest one in Pakistan out of a total of four in the major cities of the country, Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad. PUMA Pakistan’s inception was in 2010 and the brand is incorporated under the leadership of Atif Husain and Shahid Choudhary with a vision to develop international retail landscape in Pakistan. PUMA designs and develops footwear, apparel and accessories. It is committed to working in ways that contribute to the world by supporting creativity, sustainability and peace, and by staying true to the principles of being fair, honest, positive and creative in decisions made and actions taken.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Express Tribune report on rising consumption of branded packaged products in Pakistan:

Stocks of major consumer goods and food companies listed on the Karachi Stock Exchange have appreciated 73.1% to date in 2013, outperforming the benchmark KSE-100 index, which has gained 50.8%.
The numbers were taken from a sample of MNCs listed on the Karachi bourse including Unilever Pakistan, Unilever Foods, Nestle Pakistan, Colgate-Palmolive and Gillette Pakistan. The current year’s market performance of these stocks, according to statistics compiled by Topline Securities, is 10.2 percentage points higher than 62.9% they gained last year.
The Express Tribune, in this report, tries to analyse what factors have been contributing to this growth and keeping these giants interested in a market confronted by deteriorating law and order and crippling power outages.
“Pakistan, with its nearly 200 million population, is simply a too large and attractive market to ignore,” Unilever Pakistan CEO Ehsan Malik said, explaining why the Anglo-Dutch food and consumer goods giant is interested in this market.

If being the world’s sixth largest consumer base is not enough, it is the country’s population growth rate that will create a high demand for food and consumer goods in the years to come.
Pakistan will soon become the fourth most populous country in the world, Nestle Pakistan’s Head of Corporate Affairs Waqar Ahmed said.
Pakistan’s population is growing at four million people a year and in four years, he says, the increase in food consumers will be larger than the population of Switzerland (15 million).
“The growth of consumption within the Pakistani market dictates that we spend more in order to be able to supply the consumers with the value they deserve. Hence for us, the investment climate within Pakistan is as good as it ever was.”
Nestle is a very good example of the country’s growth potential, Topline Securities Manager Research Zeeshan Afzal said. The Swiss giant almost doubled its sales from Rs41 billion in 2009 to Rs79 billion in 2012.
The data highlights the performance of listed MNCs but unlisted foods and consumer goods companies have also grown manifold.
Mondelez International – a subsidiary of Kraft Group based in Chicago – says Pakistan has been one of their top-five growth markets in the world.

The confectionary giant saw a significant growth in their snack brands in Pakistan, which is among the highest in the world. Their Cadbury Dairy Milk and Tang brands alone earn Rs1 billion a year in sales.
In food and consumer goods business, says Afzal, law and order is not that big a problem. The goods are produced by MNCs but the rest is done by distributors who are local people. What matters in this business, he says, is the growth and in Pakistan the growth is driven by volumes and not the price.
Beverages giant Coca-Cola, for example, didn’t need investment from its parent company, it rather invested in its new plants from profits generated by its local operations, the analyst said.
The energy shortage, he said, is also not an issue for most MNCs because of their high profitability.
Explaining the population demographics that have driven this growth, Afzal said more women are entering the workforce contributing to a rise in their family’s incomes.
Rising urbanisation, growing middle class and sophisticated consumption habits, he said, have all contributed to this growth. A big chunk of its population is young while it is one of the top countries adding 20-year-olds to the world.
These people get jobs and establish families, thus contribute to the growth of the consumer goods business.
The country’s food consumption is very high but there is still a lot of room for further growth, believe analysts as well as industry officials...

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a WSJ story on a high-priced designer Peshawari chappal knock-off:

Imitation, it is often said, is the sincerest form of flattery, but many in Pakistan failed to take the compliment when British designer Paul Smith released a new sandal bearing close resemblance to the country’s Peshawari chappal (slipper), called it Robert, and sold it for $595.

The company received a torrent of abuse on social media for the design on Monday.

While the Pakistani sandal sells in markets across the country for around $6, Paul Smith’s version of the shoe is on sale for a 9,816% mark up.

Most of the criticism on Twitter focused on the sandal’s price, while others called for Paul Smith to give credit to the shoe’s Pakistani origin.
The Peshawari chappal is originally from the northwestern town of Peshawar, but is today manufactured across the country. You can find the shoe from Karachi to Gilgit and on the feet of markets traders, government officials and young bridegrooms.

“It is as much of a part of our national identity as is the chicken tikka in our traditional cuisine,” said journalist Madeeha Syed of the shoe in an article for local English-language newspaper, Dawn.

Paul Smith’s version of the sandal is not the first time that the quintessentially Pakistani shoe has ventured overseas. A number of Pakistan-based online outlets already sell the sandal to customers around the world. They mostly target the widespread Pakistani diaspora, but the sandal has also proved very popular in France, says Sidra Qasim, co-founder of Hometown, a Pakistan-based online shop that sells Peshawari chappals.

“They like it because it has quality and good design and it is having a good impact,” she told The Wall Street Journal.

Hometown was started in 2010 by Ms. Qasim and Waqas Ali with the goal of providing a bigger market to local shoemakers in Pakistan. All the shoes sold by Hometown are made by a small group of craftsman in a small village in Punjab province, and are sold via the company’s site in 17 different countries. The biggest markets are India, the U.K. and France, said Ms. Qasim.

Despite the outrage from Pakistan’s vocal Twitter population, Ms. Qasim said that she thought it was mostly positive that Paul Smith had decided to use the Pakistani design in his summer collection.

“One thing we are very concerned about is that Hometown is about promoting Pakistani artisans to the global level, so at least they [Paul Smith] should give the right credit,” she said, “We are really happy, on the other side, that someone on the global level has recognized this design”

Hometown’s version of the Peshawari chappal starts at $90 – still a steep markup from the average market price. Another Peshawar-based online chappal shop, Zalmay, sells the sandals for around £27 ($45.)

Riaz Haq said...

Here are some excerpts on distortions by Showtime's Homeland Season 4 about Pakistan:

From NY Post:

One of their beefs is that the show — which stars Danes as CIA Agent Carrie Mathison on assignment in Pakistan — trashed a diplomat’s image of the capital as a bucolic oasis.
“Islamabad is a quiet, picturesque city with beautiful mountains and lush greenery,” one source said. “In ‘Homeland,’ it’s portrayed as a grimy hellhole and war zone where shootouts and bombs go off with dead bodies scattered around. Nothing is further from the truth.”

From The Week:

I'm at a little café in Islamabad, sipping a cappuccino. A young woman in a ponytail and jeans walks in and orders a dozen chocolate cupcakes; her two small children press their noses up to the glass of the dessert display case. We strike up a conversation, and she mentions that her family has just moved to Islamabad. "Great place to live, isn't it?" she says.

I agree with her. I should know: I'm an Islamabad girl, born and raised, and there isn't a city in the world I would rather call home. If anything, the city can be too quaint for some; residents of Pakistan's larger metropolises sometimes poke fun at Islamabad for being too quiet or too small.

But you wouldn't know any of that from the godforsaken hellscape depicted in the latest season of Showtime's Emmy-winning drama Homeland. If the above scene from my real life had been "fictionalized" on the series, the view outside my window would have been a smog-ridden urban disaster. My cappuccino would have been a bitter black coffee from a dingy little shack. The friendly woman would have been a burka-clad hag shrieking at me in some awful, invented language to cover my sinful head. But of course, my uncovered head would just be a front, because I would turn out to be a villain, plotting the gruesome death-by-mob of some white guy.

For years, I've stayed on the fence about Homeland's shameless bigotry, giving it the benefit of the doubt even when its depictions of Muslims have been less than nuanced. As the show begins its fourth season, however, I have been forced to re-evaluate my faith in both its intentions and its intelligence — starting with the horrendous teaser poster featuring a red-hooded Claire Danes as a lovely dash of color in a foreboding sea of black burkas.

From The News Minutes:

He writes: “Also, we all know Pakistan is just mosques and burqa shops. But I'd like the show to showcase the more modern side of Pakistan too. So, how about Homeland show us the US Embassy in an act of highlighting Pakistani culture and fusing it with the modern organising a Burqa Fashion show at the venue?

You know, just your regular desi chic-conservative affair, with models walking down the ramp to the tune of 'Burqay mai rehnay do, burqa na uthao' while the Pakistanis outside the embassy still protest because the eyelashes of many a model are visible through the veil

I think they may actually be getting there, considering the third episode for this season is named 'Shalwar Kameez'.

In an understated criticism of an incredulous scene in one of the episodes, Ghias writes: “In case the gravity of that did not sink into you, a CIA station chief gets STOMPED TO DEATH in the streets of Islamabad and Pakistan continues to exist as a country on the world map.”

Riaz Haq said...

'Homeland' reportedly infuriates Pakistan, Israel

Herzl Makov, director of Israel’s Menachem Begin Center, slammed a scene in the finale where the CIA’s shadowy black ops director Dar Adal (F. Murray Abraham) justifies his dealmaking with the Taliban by referencing Begin. “Menachem Begin killed 91 British soldiers at the King David Hotel before becoming Prime Minister,” Adal said.

Riaz Haq said...

International shoe manufacturer and retailer, Clarks, entered Pakistan by launching its first ever store in Karachi on April, 11. The expertly crafted footwear is now available at The Forum mall. The stores are also being opened up in Lahore and Islamabad.

The brand has a unique heritage of almost 200 years in remarkable shoe design. Shoeaholics, both men and women, will get finest retail experience with the brand’s signature collections and styles. Nancy Huang, C&J Clark International President of Asia Pacific, said, “It’s always great to see a new store open, especially when it’s in such a good position within a premium shopping mall. The Pakistan team and our partners have done a magnificent job in setting up the store. We are in great company here; this mall is an impressive shopping destination with a fantastic mix of brand names and customers. We are delighted to be a part of it.”

The brand is also well-known for its celebrity clientele and collaborations with high-fashion designers. It has been successful in becoming the leading shoe company in the UK and a global business in over 100 markets worldwide. With their latest franchise in Pakistan, the brand intends to penetrate the markets and set impeccable shoe-trends.

One of the leading groups in the textile industry, Umer Group of Companies is behind the successful launch of the franchise. The store was inaugurated by the acting Deputy High Commissioner of the British High Commission Gillian Atkinson. The event was followed by a fashion showcase. Sleekly styled, renowned models adorned the latest in-store collection.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 15th, 2015.

Riaz Haq said...

Okra Restaurant in #Karachi Serves Upscale Clientele in Zamzama. #Pakistan #DHA - via @FT

Where 2-C, 10th Zamzama Commercial Lane, Ph-V, DHA
Plug sockets No/WiFi Yes
Espresso Rps245 ($2.30)
Open 12.30-3pm; 7.30-11.30pm; closed Mon
Privacy 3/5
Meeting at Okra café, just off Karachi’s upmarket Zamzama Boulevard, will place your client at ease over security in what is often described as Pakistan’s most violent city, with some 20m inhabitants.

High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email to buy additional rights.

It is no more than a 15-minute drive from Karachi’s downtown five-star hotels — on a route well removed from areas previously beset by the violence among Karachi’s political rivals.
Okra prides itself on serving a range of European cuisine including vegetarian, chicken, seafood and beef options — offering a break from the world of Pakistani curries.
Although generally in demand by locals, such dishes may not be suitable for clients averse to typical south Asian spicy and greasy food. Many wealthy Pakistanis visit Okra for a change from local cuisine.
The café — named after the vegetable that is known in many English-speaking countries as ladies’ fingers — consists of a ground floor and a top floor. Unlike other, more spacious, upmarket restaurants in Karachi, Okra’s limited capacity of 40 customers often means that guests need to book, while walk-in customers are discouraged.
Ayaz Khan, the owner, is unwilling to expand Okra or set up another branch for fear that the quality may be diluted. “Right now, we offer exclusivity in quality of our food and our service. We don’t want to lose that,” he says.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan’s Middle Class Soars as Stability Returns - WSJ. #economy #middleclass

Pakistan, often in the headlines for terrorism, coups and poverty, has developed something else in recent years: a burgeoning middle class that is fueling economic growth and bolstering a fragile democracy.

The transformation is evident in Jamil Abbas, a tailor of women’s clothing whose 15 years of work has paid off with two children in private school and small luxuries like a refrigerator and a washing machine.

For companies like the Swiss food maker Nestlé SA, such hungry consumers signal a sea-change.

“Pakistan is entering the hot zone,” said Bruno Olierhoek, Nestlé’s CEO for Pakistan, saying the country appears to be at a tipping point of exploding demand. Nestlé’s sales in Pakistan have doubled in the past five years to $1 billion.

Although often overshadowed by giant neighbors India and China, Pakistan is the sixth most-populated country, with 200 million people. And now, major progress in the country’s security, economic and political environments have helped create the stability for a thriving middle class.

An unpublished study last year that measured living standards, from Pakistani market research firm Aftab Associates, found that 38% of the country is middle class, while a further 4% is upper class. That’s a combined 84 million people—roughly equivalent to the entire populations of Germany or Turkey.

Such households are likely to have a motorcycle, color TV, refrigerator, washing machine and at least one member who has completed school up to the age of 16, the study found. Official figures show that the proportion of households that own a motorcycle soared to 34% in 2014 from 4% in 1991, and a washing machine to 47% from 13% over that same period. These trends are also attracting international business.

In December, Royal FrieslandCampina NV, a Dutch dairy company, paid $461 million to buy control of Engro Foods, a Pakistani packaged milk producer in a country where most milk is sold unpasteurized from open milk containers.

“What we see is consumer spending is rising and a middle class coming up,” said Hans Laarakker, Engro’s new chief executive.

Late last year, China’s Shanghai Electric Power agreed to pay $1.8 billion for a majority of Karachi’s electric supply company; Turkish electrical appliance maker Arçelik paid $258 million for a Pakistani appliance maker, Dawlance, saying Pakistan has an “increasingly prosperous working and middle class”; and French car maker Renault SA said it was seeking to set up a plant in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, during the past three years, deaths from terrorist attacks have fallen by two-thirds, as the army battles jihadists. Economic growth reached an eight-year high of nearly 5% in the past financial year, and China has begun a multibillion-dollar infrastructure investment program. The Karachi stock market rose 46% last year and continues to soar.


In the developing world, the ability to purchase durable goods such as motorcycles—which itself can lead to new opportunities in employment, education and leisure—is generally viewed as an indicator of a middle class lifestyle. Motorcycle purchases soared in Pakistan to 2 million a year now from 95,000 in 2000, leading Honda Motor Co. to double its production capacity there. Buyers of Honda’s cheapest motorcycle typically earn between just $200 and $300 a month, which would put them well below the poverty line in the West, but here that gives them disposable income.

“All these big companies globally, if they’re not looking at Pakistan, need to look at Pakistan, because it’s a huge consumption economy emerging,” said Saquib Shirazi, chief executive of Honda’s Pakistan joint venture.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan’s first #global #fashion billionaire? #Khaadi #Karachi #textiles #rmg #garments … via @profitpk

The year 2017 is the first time the Pakistani clothing market hit Rs1 trillion in consumer spending (according to an analysis conducted by Profit based on data from the Household Integrated Economic Surveys, published by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics). It is also the year the biggest brand in the industry – Khaadi – learnt about both the benefits and the costs of being the market leader, with a very public labour dispute and a string of negative stories published about it in the print media.

In the nearly two decades it has existed, Khaadi has gone from being a small store on the corner of a narrow street in Karachi’s Zamzama commercial area to become the industry-defining brand in Pakistan’s retail fashion sector. On the way, it has created, expanded, and conquered market that was virtually nonexistent prior to Khaadi’s launch in December 1999. Yet even as it stands as the clear champion of a rapidly growing market, Khaadi’s future has never been more precarious. In the next year or two, the actions of Khaadi’s management, particularly founder and CEO Shamoon Sultan, will determine whether it becomes a true national (and possibly global) corporate icon, or whether it will wither and fade away into obscurity.

While Khaadi clearly started as a passion project focused on selling khaddar clothing, it did not stay that way for long. Shamoon and Saira may have an artistic passion for the products they create, but they are clearly commercially focused as well, launching women’s clothing lines, pret, and lawn. The company sells both readymade garments and unstitched fabric.

The company began expanding its presence, first within Karachi, then on to Lahore and Islamabad, followed by eight other cities across Pakistan. By 2010, Khaadi felt confident enough to make its first foray into international retail, setting up a in Dubai, followed quickly by a store in Abu Dhabi. In 2013, Khaadi began opening stores in the UK.

While Khaadi has been remarkably successful, its success needs to be placed in a broader context: the rise of the Pakistani middle class, specifically the rise of the working woman, who has enabled families to rapidly expand their household incomes and move out of subsistence living and towards a truly consumption-oriented economic existence.

Pakistan’s female labour force participation rates have increased dramatically, from 16.2% in 2001 to 23.4% in 2015, the latest year for which data is available from the Labour Force Survey conducted by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics. As a result, household incomes have risen to Rs34,707 ($333) per month, according to data from the 2016 Household Integrated Economic Survey. That represents an annualized increase of 9.3% per year over the past 15 years (5.7% in US dollar terms).

The rapid rise in spending on clothing also appears to be causing a shift in patterns of what types of clothes Pakistanis buy. In 2002, according to PBS data, more than 68% of total spending on clothes went to buying unstitched cloth and other accessories and only 13% of spending went to readymade clothes. In 2016, the proportion of consumer spending going to readymade clothes was 33%, with unstitched cloth and accessories going down to 50% of total spending.

Readymade garments are, by far, the fastest growing segment of consumer spending on clothing and footwear, growing at an astonishing 24.2% per year (20.1% in US dollar terms) over the past 15 years to reach a market size of Rs356 billion ($3.4 billion) in fiscal year 2017, according to Profit’s analysis of PBS data. The overall clothing market, as noted at the beginning of this article, has reached Rs1.1 trillion ($10.3 billion) during that same period.

Riaz Haq said...

First Baskin-Robbins store opens in Lahore

By Our CorrespondentPublished: October 12, 2017

One of the world’s largest chain of ice cream stores, Baskin-Robbins has opened its doors in Lahore.

“We’re delighted to open our first ever Baskin-Robbins store in Pakistan, and share our range of delicious ice cream flavors with the people of Pakistan,” the Vice President of Dunkin’ Brands International, John Varughese said in a statement.

“Our store will become the place to be where our visitors will make many happy moments with their friends and family, while enjoying our delicious ice creams and other tempting frozen treats.”

The ice cream store will feature flavours available internationally, including classics like Pralines ‘n Cream, Jamoca® Almond Fudge, Mint Chocolate Chip and Very Berry Strawberry and regional favorites like Mango Tango and Tiramisu.

AHG Flavours, which had announced obtaining licence for and opening of 35 Baskin-Robbins stores across Pakistan, expressed excitement at the launch.

“We’re excited to officially bring the world famous Baskin-Robbins brand to Pakistan, along with its range of premium ice creams and innovative ice cream treats,” the company said. “We look forward to this shop becoming an integral part of the local community, and to opening many more locations across Pakistan in the months and years ahead.”

Riaz Haq said...

135 Million Millennials Drive World's Fastest Retail Market

Middle class expected to surpass U.K., Italy over 2016-21
Faseeh Mangi
September 28, 2017, 1:00 PM PDT

Nearly two-thirds of Pakistan population under 30 years old
Pakistan’s retail stores forecast to grow by 50% in 5 years
Pakistan’s burgeoning youth and their freewheeling attitude toward rising incomes have turned the nation into the world's fastest growing retail market.

The market is predicted to expand 8.2 percent per annum through 2016-2021 as disposable income has doubled since 2010, according to research group Euromonitor International. The size of the middle class is estimated to surpass that of the U.K. and Italy in the forecast period, it said.

Pakistan's improving security environment, economic expansion at near 5 percent and cheap consumer prices are driving shoppers to spend up big. Almost two-thirds of the nation's 207.8 million people are aged under 30, according to the Jinnah Institute, an Islamabad-based think tank.

“We have a new millennial shopper at hand. They don’t mind spending to have the kind of lifestyle they would like,” said Shabori Das, senior research analyst at Euromonitor. “It’s not like the Baby Boomer generation where savings for the future generation was important.”

Pakistan is bucking the trend in the U.S. -- where stores are closing at a record pace as e-commerce undermines bricks-and-mortar. It's also attracting foreign operators: Turkish home appliance maker Arcelik AS and Dutch dairy giant Royal FrieslandCampina NV entered the market last year via acquisitions. Meanwhile, Hyundai Motor Co., Kia Motors Corp. and Renault SA are all building plants in the South Asian nation.

Pakistan’s retail stores are expected to increase by 50 percent to 1 million outlets in the five years through 2021, Euromonitor said. Its three biggest malls, Lucky One in Karachi and Packages Mall and Emporium Mall in Lahore, opened in the past two years.

Pakistan is mirroring what India went through about four years ago. Both countries have young populations with more income and less inclination toward saving which is a distinct difference to what retailers elsewhere are dealing with, said Das.

Riaz Haq said...

What Makes a Pakistani Brand Iconic?

Twenty-four percent of the respondents named Shan, followed by Khaadi and Rooh Afza (21% each), Tapal (19%) and Dalda and Pakola (10% each). (Other popular brands included Coke Studio, HBL, MoltyFoam, National Foods and Sooper.) With the exception of Khaadi, all these brands are FMCGs. And except for Shan and Khaadi (they were established in 1981 and 1998 respectively), they have been around for as long as Pakistan has existed, give or take a few years. Rooh Afza was established before Partition, Tapal and Dalda in 1947 and Pakola in 1950 followed by Dalda in 1952. The fact that these six are among Pakistan’s oldest brands may have to do with their popularity.

Iconic Now, Never or Soon?
However, another observation is the fact that as far as both questions are concerned, there was no big winner that captured over 30% of the responses, let alone a large majority (over 60%). Furthermore, two of the brands described as iconic in our first question – Shan (24%) and Khaadi (21%) – were also thought to have the potential to be iconic in the future (question two) by 14% and 13% respectively. Similarly, Tapal was considered iconic by 19% while six percent of the respondents thought it could be iconic in the future. These correlations indicate that agency and corporate heads are not obviously in consensus when it comes to naming iconic or emerging brands, as well as the fact that perhaps products, rather than brands, are dominating the landscape. Atiya Zaidi, MD & ECD, BBDO Pakistan, opines, “Instead of brands, I would say the two most iconic products to come out of Pakistan are Pakola and Rooh Afza. It is ironic that both are still products and never focused much on brand building. A huge opportunity is there for both to work on brand love and be relevant to the times.”

A Lack of Consistency – The Hallmark of Any Great Brand
Aurora also spoke to several advertising and marketing professionals and many of them, who spoke off the record, were not surprised that no brand emerged as a ‘big winner’ and attributed this to a lack of consistency in their messaging. This, in turn, brought forth another set of factors. One of them was the fact that for many organisations, the priority seems to be increasing sales and revenue rather than building brand love. However, shouldn’t it be the priority? Uncountable studies have shown the relationship between brand love and recall and sales. As Sheikh Adil Hussain states in What Makes a Pakistani Brand?, “Les Binet and Peter Fields in The Long and Short of It, talk about the 60:40 Principle, which says 60% of spending should go on long-term brand building and 40% on short-term tactics, which will result in better sales performance.”

Another factor to emerge is a lack of brand custodians on the agency and clientside – in other words, “marketing leadership” – who understand the brand’s ethos and want it to remain consistent. This could be because professionals on both sides hop frequently and replicate the ideas they already used at their previous organisation without keeping in mind the brand’s ethos and values.