Sunday, August 11, 2019

Pakistan's Digital Gig Economy Growth Among World's Fastest

Pakistan's digital gig economy growth is the fastest in Asia and fourth fastest in the world, according to digital payments platform Payoneer.

Gig Economy Growth in Q2/2019. Source: Payoneer
United States led gig economy growth of 78% followed by the United Kingdom 59%, Brazil 48%, Pakistan 47% and Ukraine 36%. Asia growth was led by Pakistan followed by Philippines (35%) , India  (29%) and Bangladesh (27%).

The rapid gig economy expansion of 47% in Pakistan  was fueled by several factors including the country's very young population 70% of which is under 30 years of age coupled with improvements in science and technical education and expansion of high-speed broadband access.  Pakistani freelancers under the age of 35 generated 77% of the revenue in second quarter of 2019.

Growth in Freelance Work. Source: Payoneer

Mohsin Muzaffar, head of business development at Payoneer in Pakistan, has said as follows: "Government investment in enhancing digital skills has helped create a skilled freelancer workforce while blanket 4G coverage across Pakistan has given freelancers unprecedented access to
international jobs".

Global Freelance Revenue By Age. Source: Payoneer. 


In Q2/2019, Asia cemented its status as a freelancer hub.  Pakistan, Bangladesh and India, Philippines made it to the  top 10 list, collectively recording 238% increase from Q2/2018.


Online Labor Index. Source: Oxford Internet Institute

As of 2017, Pakistan freelancers ranked fourth in the world and accounted for 8.5% of the global online workforce, according to Online Labor Index compiled by Oxford Internet Institute. India led with 24% share followed by Bangladesh 16%, US 12%, Pakistan 8.5% and Philippines 6.5%.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Digital BRI and 5G in Pakistan

Pakistan's Demographic Dividend

Pakistan EdTech and FinTech Startups

State Bank Targets Fully Digital Economy in Pakistan

Campaign of Fear Against CPEC

Fintech Revolution in Pakistan

E-Commerce in Pakistan

The Other 99% of the Pakistan Story

FMCG Boom in Pakistan

Belt Road Forum 2019

Fiber Network Growth in Pakistan

Riaz Haq's Youtube Channel


8 comments:

Riaz Haq said...

#China to start 27 new projects in #Pakistan under second phase of #CPEC | ThePrint

https://theprint.in/world/china-to-start-27-new-projects-in-pakistan-under-second-phase-of-cpec/284628/

China plans to launch 27 new projects in Pakistan under the second phase of the USD 60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) this year, a media report on Friday quoted a senior Chinese diplomat as saying.

The ambitious CPEC links China’s Kashgar city in Xinjiang province with Pakistan’s Gwadar port in Baluchistan through a network of roads, railways and highways.

“There will be 27 new projects in the second phase of the CPEC,” said Consul General of China in Karachi, Wang Yu during a meeting organised by the Karachi Council on Foreign Relations on Thursday.

Following the signing of the memorandum of understanding between China and Pakistan for the second phase of CPEC earlier this year, work on these 27 new projects was expected to begin by the end of the year, the Dawn newspaper quoted Wang as saying.

“Agriculture, education, vocational training, industry, increase in water supply, etc, are all part of our plans for the next phase,” he said.

Replying to a question about investment from China, he said the last two to three months had seen more Chinese investors coming to Pakistan.

“They are eager to invest here but they also need to know that the investments they make are sound and that they will also earn money here and for this there is a need for a fine transport system for the transportation of goods, new airports, etc.

“We are here for business and trade, but we are not in a decision-making position,” he said.

Responding to a question about security, Wang said there was no economic development without security.

Education and employment is also affected by a lack of security, he said.


Riaz Haq said...

Riaz Haq has left a new comment on your post "Pakistan's Digital Gig Economy Growth Among World'...":

#Pakistan's NUST's #Science and #Technology Park now open for business. It has 3 buildings with a combined covered area of over 120,000 square feet surrounded by some of country's top #universities, #businesses and #industries. #Education #startup https://www.thenews.com.pk/latest/513408-nusts-science-and-technology-park-now-open-for-business

Science and Technology Park, developed by National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) in Islamabad, has opened doors to its first resident companies.

Fully university hosted and integrated across a 50-acre site, the park aims to enhance and increase research and development, promote linkages between higher education institutes, R&D centres and international industries; and capitalize on their strengths and abilities to create a knowledge-based multi-sector cluster in Pakistan.

A self-funded project, NSTP currently offers three buildings with a combined covered area of over 120,000 square feet surrounded by some of country's top universities, businesses and industries.

Over 70% of all S&T research work in Pakistan is conducted within a 30-mile radius of the park, which will focus on Edtech, Agritech, Fintech, Autotech, Healthtech, Deftech, Energytech and Smartech, each with its corresponding educational establishment nearby.

Multinational anchor companies are the driving force behind these key sectors and are provided with a distinctive space and opportunities connect with other tenants of the park and the university, which include innovative tech-based SMEs and startups both local and international.

These growing companies are offered subsidized or free work space, free training and mentorships, and funding opportunities through the NSTP Angel Investment Network.

The park already has strong international links via participation in the China Pakistan Economic Corridor( CPEC) , and a partnership with the China Pakistan Technology Transfer Centre which seeks to create innovation and investment from many companies located along the corridor.

It also benefits from a Special Economic Zone status, enabling residents to import critical infrastructure and machinery free of taxes.

Startups, high-tech SMEs, innovation centres of large multinationals and corporations, and business innovation hubs can apply for tenancy.

Riaz Haq said...

#Digital #Pakistan: Increasing digitization and #internet accessibility make Pakistan's e-commerce market one of the fastest growing in the world. Size of #ecommerce market is up by 92% to 99.3 billion rupees ($640.3 million) during the fiscal year 2017-18 http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1163302.shtml#.XXBF_novZYI.twitter

The number of registered e-commerce merchants was 496 in the first quarter of the fiscal year 2017-18, reaching nearly 1,100 by year end, and was over 1,200 in the first quarter of 2018-19, showing an exponential growth in e-commerce activities in the country.

Pakistan has e-commerce companies in almost every major sector from retail and ride-hailing to property and car purchasing. Benefits such as lower transaction costs, ease of selection of various products while sitting at home, wider selection range, opportunity for making informed purchase decisions based on online reviews and on-time delivery process are the main sources of attraction for consumers, paving the way for the industry to flourish.

Leading online businesses in Pakistan in retail are Daraz, Yayvo and HumMart, whereas ride-hailing services have been overtaken mostly by the global and regional giants Uber and Careem.

Additionally, PakWheels and Zameen are the largest online marketplaces for car and property shoppers and sellers in Pakistan. Among food delivery service providers, FoodPanda is most popular.

The industry has not only helped major players in expanding their businesses, it is also an effective tool for small- and medium-sized enterprises due to low costs and increased accessibility of sellers to customers.

In its efforts to increase the growth and development of the industry, the federal government has recently framed a draft e-commerce policy aimed at achieving higher export growth through enhanced activities from e-commerce platforms, promoting small e-businesses and creating employment opportunities.

The main goal of the policy is to augment the e-commerce industry's growth to make it one of the key drivers of Pakistan's economy.

Though data shows a steady rise in digital transactions and the number of registered vendors, the country's successful e-commerce entrepreneurs believe that Pakistan can learn much from China to further boost the industry, which is still in its infancy, as the latter has an immense knowledge base, experience and advanced technology in this field.

In a conversation with the Xinhua News Agency, Adam Dawood, head of Yayvo, one of Pakistan's largest online retailers, said that China is the world's biggest e-commerce market with annual online sales worth hundreds of billions of dollars.

As a neighboring country, China is eyeing the huge untapped potential in Pakistan, with Chinese e-commerce player AliExpress, part of tech giant Alibaba, recently acquiring Daraz.

"Apart from investment in Pakistan, China has such a big market for products that we could increase our product assortment overnight," Dawood said, adding that there is a lot of learning required in terms of product-market fit, legislation, and route to market that would help Pakistan increase not just the online shopping base, but also the internet penetration rate.

Talking about the challenges the e-commerce industry is facing, Dawood said that Pakistan needs to focus on optimizing overall service delivery and customer experience aspects.

"Our logistics and payments systems need to evolve to be better suited; it behooves the government to pass legislations and cooperate and collaborate with regional players including China to further support and actively promote the digital businesses."

Pakistan needs to encourage Chinese enterprises to explore opportunities in the Pakistani e-commerce industry and join with local start-ups for new business ventures, said Shehryar Hydri, secretary general of the Pakistan Software Houses Association, a trade body promoting and developing software and services industry in Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

Leading #Pakistani Bank Partners With #Ripple to Launch #Digital #Payments Solution. Faysal Bank Limited (FBL) has launched a digital payments solution through a partnership with #US-based Ripple, a #blockchain-based money transfer platform. #fintech
https://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2019/09/151318-leading-pakistani-bank-partners-ripple-to-launch-digital-payments-solution/

FBL is one of Pakistan’s largest commercial banks with over 220 branches nationwide and assets totaling $1.5 billion.

Announced on September 6, 2019, FBL’s partnership with Ripple was commemorated by a meeting in Karachi, Pakistan’s leading industrial and financial center. The business meeting was attended by Faysal Bank’s president Yousaf Hussain.

FBL, an Islamic private bank, has joined more than 200 financial institutions and payment providers that are using RippleNet, a decentralized global payments network for conducting fast and cost-effective cross-border transactions.

The leading Pakistani bank has reportedly been working on various initiatives aimed at supporting the development of a digital economy. FBL notably became the first major private Pakistani bank to introduce a virtual payment card in Pakistan in 2017.

FBL recently sponsored a one-day summit focused on electronic payments in Karachi, in order to spread “mass awareness about digital money.”

Pakistan’s regulatory authorities have not drafted guidelines for transactions involving cryptocurrencies. In 2018, the country’s central bank, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), ordered all local financial institutions to suspend services being offered to individuals and firms dealing in Bitcoin and other digital assets.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan eyes #ecommerce for #economic growth. Pakistan's service sector #exports (#freelance) are around $5 billion. Opportunities for #startups and #SMEs (98% of all biz) thu #digitization and e-commerce, #service exports can be enhanced. #payments http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-01/14/c_138704624.htm

Abdul Razak Dawood, advisor to Pakistani prime minister on commerce, textile, industry and production, and investment, said on Monday that the special focus of the government on e-commerce policy will benefit the country, particularly giving a quantum jump to its exports.

Addressing a workshop here on e-commerce, the advisor said that in line with the government's vision of "Digital Pakistan", many lacunas in the procedural framework will be fixed.

"The moment we start minimizing the interaction between people with everything working online, then corruption will go down, inefficiency will go down and we will be able to move in a much, much faster way," he said.

Currently, Pakistan's services sector exports are around five billion U.S. dollars, said Dawood, adding that prioritizing opportunities for the startups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through the policy of digitization and e-commerce, service exports could be enhanced to a great extent.

According to a report about the e-commerce policy framework of Pakistan released by the country's commerce ministry in September 2019, there are over 3.2 million SME units in Pakistan, accounting for 98 percent of all the enterprises, and the SMEs employ "nearly 78 percent of the non-agriculture labor force in Pakistan and contributes more than 30 percent" to the overall gross domestic product (GDP).

"E-commerce is an opportunity to bring SMEs in the mainstream and connect them with international markets through global e-commerce platforms as well as Pakistani online market places," the report added.

Talking to Xinhua, Badar Khushnood, a member of the Pakistani software houses association P@SHA, said that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is providing a great opportunity to Pakistan to learn and collaborate with Chinese tech giants like Tencent and Alibaba to tap its e-commerce potential.

Khushnood is of the view that companies like Alibaba, Uber and Careem have conducted B2C business in the country, and the business can be further expanded within the B2B framework as well.

According to a report released by the website Export.gov which is managed by the U.S. Department of Commerce, it is estimated that Pakistan has around 32 million Facebook users, and one of the highest rates of smartphone penetration in South Asia at nearly 34 percent. This makes it a potential market for e-commerce services and businesses.

Jawaid Ghani, professor of strategy and marketing research at Karachi School of Business and Leadership, told Xinhua that e-commerce facilitates make transaction easier, which is essential for foreign direct investment.

To increase exports, Pakistan has to introduce new e-commerce avenues as this would increase economic activity across all levels including B2B, B2C and C2C, he said.

The Export.gov report also noted that a large component of Pakistan's economy is informal and this is mainly because the majority of transactions are conducted in cash, except for those that are very large and require a bank draft or pay order. The majority of the local companies especially the SMEs are undocumented and therefore out of the tax net.

Ghani said that e-commerce and digital payment services would ensure transparency in transaction along with bringing the documentation of the undocumented transfer of money.

The McKinsey Global Institute report estimated that Pakistan can have an increase of a cumulative seven percentage points in its GDP along with the generation of around four million new jobs during 2016-2025 through utilizing digital financial services alone.

Riaz Haq said...

Millions of US$ owed to #Pakistani #freelancers stuck indefinitely amid Wirecard fraud. Industry experts estimate that there are between 50,000 to 100,000 total Payoneer users in Pakistan. Payoneer Prepaid Mastercard is issued by Wirecard AG https://profit.pakistantoday.com.pk/2020/06/27/payoneer-prepaid-card-crash-to-affect-thousands-of-pakistani-freelancers/ via @Profitpk


On Thursday, Wirecard AG filed for insolvency after it was revealed that the company was involved in the accounting fraud and reported that 1.9 billion euros from the company account were missing. Subsequently, the UK regulator of WCSL, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), ordered WCSL to freeze all prepaid card activity for the time being.

The FCA has communicated that they have taken these measures with the primary objective of protecting the interests and money of consumers who use Wirecard services. Pending further actions from the FCA, all payments services, including Payoneer, that subscribe to Wirecard, their cards will be blocked temporarily and the users will not be able to withdraw the funds on these cards, nor receive new payments.



Payoneer CEO Scott Galit stated, “We understand that the developing situation with Wirecard has created a lot of concern and challenges for Payoneer Prepaid Mastercard®️ card users. We have been assured by the FCA that the freeze was put in place to ensure the protection of all cardholders funds. We have also been given repeated reassurances that all funds are properly safeguarded. Progress is being made to lift the freeze, and we will continue to update you as soon as more information is available. This situation has impacted the customers of many companies, and we believe that it will be resolved soon.

In the meantime, incoming funds to Payoneer users can be withdrawn to bank accounts, or held in a Payoneer Account which remains safe and secure. All funds held in Payoneer are fully liquid and available and held in global leading banks. Our company is strong and stable, and committed to safeguarding our customers’ funds in accordance with all relevant global regulations.



We know that our customers depend on these funds, and that this freeze has created hardships for many people. We have enabled alternative solutions for payment withdrawal, and are working to address any technical issues that have come up, and to help our customers in any way we can.”

Payoneer, in its blog, also assured its users that the funds stored on individual Payoneer Prepaid Mastercard users were safe and secure.

“Although Wirecard Card Solutions Limited is a subsidiary within the Wirecard group and shares the same brand, they are an entirely independent entity with their own board, their own regulatory and capital requirements and are subject to regulatory oversight and accounting standards in the UK,” the blog post read.

“As they are independent, your card is not impacted and you can continue to use it as usual. Nonetheless, we work with other issuers including our own, and are working on contingency plans to ensure we maintain continuity and redundancy now and in the future. Even in the unlikely event of insolvency of Wirecard Card Solutions Limited, funds held on your card remain secure as they are held in trust in safeguarded accounts at regulated credit institutions in the UK and the European Economic Area (EEA) and designated as your funds,” it read.

Payoneer prepaid cards are mostly used by freelancers in Pakistan to receive payments from offshore clients for the projects they deliver. Besides freelancers, small companies also use Payoneer’s services for international payments.



The payment can be retrieved into a prepaid card or an app-based virtual account. People who use prepaid cards have temporarily lost access to cash as the cards have been blocked for an indefinite period of time. While no timeline has been given by Payoneer for resumption of card services, the company says that users are able to transfer money from their virtual accounts to local bank accounts for withdrawal.

Riaz Haq said...

NayaPay partners with #Visa to fast-track #digital #payments in #Pakistan. NayaPay will use Visa Direct to simplify cross-border money transfers for freelancers & other Pakistan based businesses working with international clients, and overseas #remittances https://www.dawn.com/news/1571618

NayaPay has joined the Visa Fintech Fast Track program, speeding up the payment company’s integration process with Visa and enabling NayaPay to leverage the reach, capabilities, and security of the Visa global payments network.

Through the Fast Track program, NayaPay has access to Visa’s growing partner network, technology and resources to accelerate innovation in digital payments in Pakistan.

As an Electronic Money Institution (EMI), NayaPay will enable users to open E-Money accounts within a few minutes and make hassle-free digital payments to each other and to businesses.

NayaPay consumers and merchants can use their NayaPay Visa debit card to perform online and in-store transactions with millions of retailers worldwide as well as withdraw cash conveniently at any ATM location.

NayaPay customers can also scan Visa merchant QR codes to make payments directly through their app.

NayaPay will also be leveraging Visa Direct to simplify cross-border money transfers for freelancers and other Pakistan based businesses working with international clients, and households receiving remittances from their families abroad.

Users will be able to accept funds instantly and directly into their NayaPay wallets from over a billion Visa cards across the globe.

“We are committed to helping fintechs achieve their potential – enabling big ideas to flourish and supporting them through the reach, scale and security of the Visa network,” said Kamil Khan, Country Manager, Pakistan, Visa. “We have strategically evolved both our platforms and how we work with partners and customers to encourage a broadening of the fintech ecosystem globally and are excited by the opportunities and new use cases the NayaPay partnership will enable in Pakistan. Our work with NayaPay is a stepping stone in that evolution and we look forward to further supporting them on their journey.”

Danish Lakhani, CEO NayaPay, said: “We are delighted to have found a partner in Visa that shares our goals of making financial services simpler, more convenient and accessible to Pakistani users – the needs of whom have been overlooked for far too long. Over the past few months, we have been integrating Visa’s offerings to reinforce our issuing and acquiring capabilities and to deliver on our promise of becoming a part of citizens’ daily lives.”

“By joining Visa’s Fintech Fast Track program, exciting fintechs like NayaPay gain unprecedented access to Visa experts, technology, and resources,” said Otto Williams, Vice President, Strategic Partnerships, Fintech and Ventures, CEMEA at Visa. “The Visa Fintech Fast Track program lets us provide new resources that rapidly growing companies need to scale with efficiency. We’re delighted to welcome NayaPay into our program and look forward to working with them on their payment solutions that will transform financial inclusion in Pakistan.”

Riaz Haq said...

Payoneer Global Survey of freelancers incomes in 2015:

Pakistani women freelancers charge $22 an hour, 10% more than $20 an hour that men charge.

Having a university degree does not get you more money...in fact the average rate for the world for high school graduates ($22 an hour) is about 10% higher than that of university graduates ($20 an hour).

https://blog.payoneer.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/freelancer-report-en-2015.pdf

To better understand the trends impacting this global movement, we surveyed 23,000 freelancers worldwide, including emerging markets such as Pakistan, the Philippines and the Ukraine. Survey respondents comprise a random sample of Payoneer’s cross-border payment platform users, providing unique insights into how these globally-enabled freelancers operate, what makes them successful and what rates they command.

https://pubs.payoneer.com/images/2020-Freelancer-Income-Report.pdf