Saturday, January 12, 2019

Pakistan Garment Industry Becoming More Cost Competitive With Bangladesh's?

Low wages and trade deals with Western nations have helped Bangladesh build a $30 billion ready-made garments (RMG) industry that accounts for 80% of country's exports. Bangladesh is the world's second largest RMG exporter after China. Rising monthly wages of Bangladesh garment worker in terms of US dollars are now catching up with the minimum wage in Pakistan, especially after recent Pakistani rupee devaluation. Minimum monthly wage in Pakistan has declined from $136 last year to $107 now while Bangladesh has seen it increase from $64 last year to $95 today.  Western garment buyers, known for their relentless pursuit of the lowest labor costs, will likely diversify their sources by directing new investments to Pakistan and other nations. Competing on low cost alone may prove to be a poor long term exports strategy for both countries.  Greater value addition with diverse products and services will be necessary to remain competitive as wages rise in both countries.


Minimum Monthly Wages in US$ Market Exchange Rate


Wage Hike in Bangladesh:

The government in Dhaka announced in September that the minimum wage for garment workers would increase by up to 51% this year to 8,000 taka ($95) a month, up from $64 a year ago, according to Renaissance Capital. But garment workers union leaders say that increase will benefit only a small percentage of workers in the sector, which employs 4 million in the country of 165 million people, according to Reuters.  Bangladesh government promised this week it would consider demands for an increase in the minimum wage, after clashes between police and protesters killed one worker and wounded dozens.

Monthly Minimum Wages in US$. Source: Renaissance Capital

Pakistan Wage Decline:

Pakistani currency has seen about 25% decline in value against the US dollar since January 2018. As a result of this devaluation, the minimum monthly wage in Pakistan has dropped from $136 last year to $107 now while Bangladesh has seen it increase from $64 last year to $95 today. Renaissance Capital projects a further 10% depreciation in Pakistani rupee this year.

Race to the Bottom? 

Competing on cost alone is like engaging in the race to the bottom. Neither Pakistan nor Bangladesh can count on being lowest cost producers in the long run. What must they do to grow their exports in the future? The only viable option for both is to diversify their products and services and add greater value to justify higher prices.

Pakistan's Export Performance:

The bulk of Pakistan's exports consist of low value commodities like chadar, chawal and chamra (textiles, rice and leather). These exports have declined from about 15% to about 8% of GDP since 2003. Pakistan's trade deficits are growing at an alarming rate as the imports continue to far outstrip exports. This situation is not sustainable.  What must Pakistan do to improve it? What can Pakistan do to avoid recurring balance of payments crises?  How can Pakistan diversify and grow its exports to reduce the gaping trade gap? How can Pakistan's closest ally China help? Can China invest in export oriented industries and open up its huge market for exports from Pakistan? Let's explore answers to these question. 

Exports as Percentage of GDP. Source: World Bank
East Asia's Experience:

East Asian nations have greatly benefited from major investments made by the United States and Europe in export-oriented industries and increased access to western markets over the last several decades. Asian Tigers started with textiles and then switched to manufacturing higher value added consumer electronics and high tech products. Access to North American and European markets boosted their export earnings and helped them accumulate large foreign exchange reserves that freed them from dependence on the IMF and other international financial institutions. China, too, has been a major beneficiary of these western policies. All have significantly enhanced their living standards.

Top 10 Textile Exporters. Source: WTO


Chinese Investment and Trade:

Pakistan needs similar investments in export-oriented industries and greater access to major markets. Given the end of the Cold War and changing US alliances, it seems unlikely that the United States would help Pakistan deal with the difficulties it faces today.

China sees Pakistan as a close strategic ally. It is investing heavily in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) which includes China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). A recent opinion piece by Yao Jing, the Chinese Ambassador in Pakistan, published  in the state-owned China Daily, appears to suggest that China is prepared to offer such help. Here are two key excerpts from the opinion piece titled "A community of shared future with Pakistan":

1. China will actively promote investment in Pakistan. The Chinese government will firmly promote industrial cooperation, expand China's direct investment in Pakistan, and encourage Chinese enterprises to actively participate in the construction of special economic zones. Its focus of cooperation will be upgrading Pakistan's manufacturing capacity and expanding export-oriented industries.

2. China will also actively expand its imports from Pakistan. In November, China will hold the first China International Import Expo in Shanghai, where, as one of the "Chief Guest" countries, Pakistan has been invited to send a large delegation of exporters and set up exhibitions at both the national and export levels. It is hoped that Pakistan will make full use of this opportunity to promote its superior products to China. The Chinese side will also promote cooperation between the customs and quarantine authorities of both countries to facilitate the further opening-up of China's agricultural product market to Pakistan. China will, under the framework of free trade cooperation between the two countries, provide a larger market share for Pakistani goods, and strengthen cooperation and facilitate local trade between Gilgit-Baltistan and China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. And China will take further visa facilitation measures to encourage more Pakistani businesspeople to visit China.

Top 10 Garment Exporters. Source: WTO

Pakistan's Role:

Pakistan needs to take the Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing's offer to increase Chinese investments and open up China's market for imports from Pakistan.  Pakistan's new government led by Prime Minister Imran Khan should take immediate steps to pursue the Chinese offer. Finance Minister Asad Umar needs to form a high-powered team of top bureaucrats and leading businessmen to develop a comprehensive plan to attract investments in export-oriented industries and diversify and grow exports to China and other countries. Pakistan must make full use of its vast network of overseas diplomatic missions to promote investment and trade. 

Summary:

Pakistani currency has seen about 25% decline in value against the US dollar since January 2018. As a result of this devaluation, the minimum monthly wage in Pakistan has dropped from $136 last year to $107 now while in Bangladesh has seen it increased from $64 last year to $95 today. Renaissance Capital projects a further 10% depreciation this year.  While this can help Pakistan's RMG exports in the short term, it is not good long term strategy. Competing on cost alone  is a race to the bottom. Pakistan's manufactured exports per capita have declined in the last decade. Pakistan's exports have declined from about 15% of GDP to about 8% since 2003. The nation's trade deficits are growing at an alarming rate as the imports continue to far outstrip exports. This situation is not sustainable. Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing has offered a helping hand to increase Chinese investment and trade in Pakistan.   Pakistan's new government led by Prime Minister Imran Khan should take the Chinese Ambassador's plan seriously. Finance Minister Asad Umar needs to form a high-powered team of top bureaucrats and leading businessmen on a comprehensive plan to attract investments in export-oriented industries and diversify and grow high-value exports to China and other countries.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Pakistani Mini Invasion of China?

Mid-1960s America saw a phenomenon called the "British Invasion". Anecdotal evidence suggests similar phenomenon, albeit on a smaller scale, is occurring in China with about 100,000 Pakistanis arriving there in recent years. While the growing presence of the Chinese in Pakistan gets a lot of press, there has been relatively little coverage of the movement of people in the other direction---from Pakistan to China. Jalil Shaikh, a Pakistani-American tech executive in Silicon Valley, has observed this phenomenon during his frequent visits to Jiangsu province in China. Jalil is often welcomed as "iron brother" by the people he meets during his stays in China.

Pakistanis in Changzhou, China
Pakistanis in Changzhou:

Jalil saw anecdotal of evidence of "Pakistani invasion" of China in the city of Changzhou in Jiangsu province. Changzhou has a population of about 5 million people which makes it a medium size city by Chinese standards. Changzhou is an educational hub and is home to several universities, including Changzhou University, Hohai University (Changzhou campus), Jiangsu Teachers' University of Science and Technology, Jiangsu Teachers' University of Technology, and Changzhou Institute of Technology. It attracts a large number of foreign students mainly from countries participating in China's BRI (Belt and Road Initiative). China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a flagship project of BRI.  There are an estimated 22,000 Pakistani students studying in China. A significant fraction of these students receive Chinese government scholarships to study in the country.



Pakistani Restaurant in Changzhou, China


Pakistanis in Beijing:

Jalil has also travelled to the Chinese capital Beijing for business. During one such trips, he stayed at Oak Chateau hotel where he met dozens of Pakistanis working as engineers. They work as IT engineers at German automakers BMW and Mercedes whose Beijing offices are located just across the street from this hotel.

Food and Music at Changzhou Restaurant: 

On a visit to Changzhou last year, Jalil ate at MandS Restaurant,  a Pakistani restaurant in the city of Changzou. He met its Pakistani owner and several young Pakistanis attending universities there. He learned that here are scores of Pakistanis in Changzou and most of them are reachable on a WeChat  group. WeChat is a ubiquitous smartphone application similar to WhatsApp that serves as both mobile messaging and payment platform. Owned by Chinese social media giant TenCents, WeChat competes with China's e-commerce behemoth Alibaba's Alipay in mobile payments space which has rapidly grown in China.  Jalil joined the Pakistani WeChat group in Changzhou and invited its members to dinner and Karaoke singing at MandS Restaurant. About 40 Pakistanis, mostly students, showed up. Many of the Changzhou Pakistanis, including girls, are from families living in small towns and villages in Pakistan. Many get fully funded scholarships with full tuition, room and board as well as a monthly stipend of 1,700 RMB for Master's degree students and 2,000 RMB for PhD candidates. China gets the benefit of the research work and publications produced by them.

Spinal Injury:

A Pakistani girl who had recently arrived had a serious mishap soon after arrival from her village near Multan. She slipped and fell. The fall caused serious spinal injuries requiring hospitalization and surgery. This occurred before her medical coverage started. The hospital demanded payment of RMB 35,000 which is equivalent to US$5,000. Pakistanis helped raise $4,000 and Jalil made up the difference to cover the unfortunate girl's medical expenses.

Muslims in Changzhou:

A large number of Muslims call Changzhou home. There are 5 mosques in the city.  Jalil has had the opportunity to attend Friday prayers at packed mosques in the city.  MandS Restaurant owner offered free meals to over 200 Muslims as part of Eid Milad un Nabi (Prophet Mohammad SAW's birthday)celebration last year.

China-Pakistan Ties:

Pakistan-China ties are rapidly growing well beyond the economy and the military with tens of thousands of Chinese and Pakistani citizens regularly traveling between the two countries.

More Pakistanis than ever are learning the Chinese language. China with its world class educational institutions is emerging as one of the top destinations for Pakistanis studying abroad. China-Pakistan relationship is becoming a truly multi-dimensional strategic relationship.   This new phenomenon is the subject of a Pakistani spice company television commercial featuring a young Chinese woman in Lahore making the popular biryani dish using Shan masala.

China's Strides in Science and Technology:

Why is China becoming a fast growing destination for foreign students, including Pakistanis studying abroad? A story in India's "The Wire" online magazine has explained it in terms of the rapid rate of China's progress in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields as follows:

America's National Science Foundation and National Science Board have recently released their biennial science and engineering indicators which provide detailed figures on research and development (R&D), innovation and engineers. But its true message is in a different direction, “China has become,” concludes Robert J. Samuelson in a column, “or is in the verge of becoming – a scientific and technical superpower. This is not entirely unexpected given the size of the Chinese economy and its massive investments in R&D, even so, he says, “the actual numbers are breathtaking”.

1. China is the 2nd largest spender in R&D after the US, accounting for 21% of the world total which is $2 trillion. It has been going up 18% a year, as compared to 4% in the US. An OECD report says that China could overtake the US in R&D spending by 2020.

2. China has overtaken the US in terms of total number of science publications. Technical papers have increased dramatically, even if their impact, as judged by citation indices, may not be that high.

3. The US continues to produce more PhDs and attract more foreign students. But new international enrollment at US colleges was down for the first time in the decade in 2017. The Trump administration’s anti-immigration rhetoric and actions are scaring away students.

4. China has begun shifting from being an assembler of high-tech components, to a maker of super computers and aircraft and given the pattern of its investments in RandD and technology development, it is focusing on becoming the world leader in artificial intelligence (AI), quantum communications, quantum computing, biotechnology and electric vehicles.

Summary:

While the growing presence of the Chinese in Pakistan gets a lot of press, there has been relatively little coverage of the movement of people in the other direction---from Pakistan to China. Pakistan-China ties are rapidly growing well beyond the economy and the military with tens of thousands of Chinese and Pakistani citizens regularly traveling between the two countries. Jalil Shaikh, a Pakistani-American tech executive in Silicon Valley, has observed this phenomenon during his frequent visits to Jiangsu province in China. Jalil is often welcomed as "iron brother" by the people he meets during his stays in China.  More Pakistanis than ever are learning the Chinese language.  China with its world class educational institutions is emerging as one of the top destinations for Pakistanis studying abroad. It is becoming a truly multi-dimensional relationship which will help Pakistan rise with China on the world stage.

Here's a video clip of Karaoke Dinner in Changzhou, China:

https://youtu.be/2YSnDGtVjsk




Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Rapid Growth of China-Pakistan Educational, Scientific and Cultural Ties 

China-Pakistan Strategic Ties

US and China Compete For Influence in Pakistan

China-Pakistan Defense Tech Cooperation Irks West

Pakistan-Russia-China vs India-Japan-US

Pakistan Rising or Falling? Myth Vs Reality

Facts and Myths About China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

China Emerges as Top Destination for Pakistanis Studying Abroad

Sec Hagel: India Using Afghanistan to Launch Attacks in Pakistan

Ex Indian Spy Documents RAW's Successes Against Pakistan

Riaz Haq's Youtube Channel



Saturday, January 5, 2019

Global Cyber Arms Race Heating Up?

The United States has launched successful cyber attacks against Iran and North Korea in recent years, according to multiple credible reports. These cyber attacks have caused physical destruction of thousands of Iranian nuclear centrifuges and disrupted North Korean missiles on launchpads or shortly after takeoff. Some of the code and developer tools used in the attacks have leaked out. These leaks are enabling other nations to learn and develop their own offensive cyber weapons. The United States and the United Kingdom have accused Russia of using social media apps like Facebook and Twitter to exploit and deepen divisions during the US presidential elections and the UK's Brexit referendum in 2016. Similar warfare techniques, described by the US RAND Corporation as New Generation or Hybrid Warfare, are probably being deployed by other nations as well. It refers to the use of a broad range of subversive instruments, many of which are nonmilitary, to further a country's national interests. It wouldn't be far-fetched to think that India and Pakistan are learning from New Generation Warfare techniques developed and deployed by technologically advanced nations.

US-Israel Joint Stuxnet Against Iran:

A large number of  Iranian centrifuges suddenly started to blow up around 2008-9 soon after President Barack Obama's inauguration. The mystery was finally resolved in the summer of 2010  when a computer worm later named Stuxnet escaped Iran’s Natanz plant and spread around the world on the Internet.

New York Times' David Sanger reported that the United States and Israel developed Stuxnet and then tested it by building replicas of the Iranian Natanz plant equipped with Pakistani P-1 centrifuge designed in 1980s. Americans obtained P-1 centrifuges from Libyan leader Moammar Ghadafi and dismantled them to learn how it worked. P-1 uses a Siemens controller S7-417. Stuxnet inserted malware in the Siemens controller to suddenly change the centrifuge speed which caused its destruction.  It was designed to attack computers with specific configuration of Siemens S7-417 controller. Here's how New York Times' David Sanger described the test results:

"After several false starts, it worked. One day, toward the end of Mr. Bush’s term, the rubble of a centrifuge was spread out on the conference table in the Situation Room, proof of the potential power of a cyberweapon. The worm was declared ready to test against the real target: Iran’s underground enrichment plant."

US Left-of-Launch Attack Against North Korea:

A very high percentage of North Korean missile launches failed in the period from 2015 to 2017. The missiles either blew up on the launchpads or failed soon after launch. These failures are widely attributed to American cyber attacks.

American strategists see Left-of-Launch cyber weapons as a low-cost extension of their missile defense strategy. Gen. James Dickinson, the chief of Army Space and Missile Defense Command and Army Forces Strategic Command, explains it as follows:

“You’ve probably heard the conversation about how we’re on the wrong side of the cost curve for missile defense many times. We’re utilizing multi-million-dollar interceptors against very inexpensive missiles and those types of threats, So it’s a balance. It has to be a balance between the end game, if you will, where we’re relying on an interceptor to defeat the threat and other approaches."

Russia's Information Warfare in US, UK:

The United States and the United Kingdom have accused Russia of using social media apps like Facebook and Twitter to exploit and deepen divisions during the US presidential elections and the UK's Brexit referendum in 2016.

American and British intelligence officials believe Russia used all major social media platform to spread words, images and videos tailored to voters’ interests to help elect President Trump. Similar allegations have been made by the British government about Russian interference to influence the outcome of the Brexit vote in the U.K.

Facebook, Google and Twitter acknowledged in 2017 that they had identified Russian interference on their sites. The companies have responded to the threat — Facebook, in particular, created a “war room” in 2018 to fight interference around elections — but none has revealed interference around US midterm elections in 2017 on the same scale as in 2016.

Cyber Weapons Code and Tools Leaks:

Stuxnet worm and recently leaked NSA's hacking tools by Shadow Brokers have revealed the extent of US intelligence agencies' cyber spying and hacking operations. Symantec's Liam O'Murchu who was among the first to unravel Stuxnet says it is "by far the most complex piece of code that we've looked at — in a completely different league from anything we’d ever seen before." It is almost certain that the code is being reverse-engineered and repurposed as their weapon by cyber warriors in many countries around the world.

In 2013, a group known as "Shadow Brokers" leaked NSA's sophisticated cyberweapons that have exposed major vulnerabilities in Cisco routers, Microsoft Windows, and Linux mail servers.  Soona after the Shadow Brokers leak, North Korea is believed to have developed and used WannaCry ransomware. It encrypts files on the target PC's hard drive, making them inaccessible, then demands a ransom payment in bitcoin to decrypt them.

Summary:

American agencies have launched successful cyber campaigns against adversaries like  Iran and North Korea in recent years, according to multiple credible reports. These cyber attacks have caused physical destruction of thousands of Iranian nuclear centrifuges and disrupted North Korean missiles on launchpads or shortly after takeoff. Some of the code and developer tools used in the attacks have leaked out. These leaks are enabling other nations to learn and develop their own offensive cyber weapons. The United States and the United Kingdom have accused Russia of using social media apps like Facebook and Twitter to cause and deepen divisions during the US presidential elections and the UK's Brexit referendum in 2016. Similar warfare techniques, described by the US RAND Corporation as New Generation or Hybrid Warfare, are probably being deployed by other nations as well. It refers to the use of a broad range of subversive instruments, many of which are nonmilitary, to further a country's national interests. It wouldn't be far-fetched to think that India and Pakistan are learning from New Generation Warfare techniques developed and deployed by technologically advanced nations.


Thursday, January 3, 2019

Clarivate Analytics Lists 6 Pakistanis and 10 Indians Among World's Top 4000 Scientists

Clarivate Analytics has listed 6 Pakistani and 10 Indian researchers in its latest list of the world's 4000 most highly cited researchers (HCR).  There are 12 Iranians and no Bangladeshis and no Sri Lankans on it.  Clarivate's citation analysis identifies influential researchers as determined by their peers around the globe – those who have consistently won recognition in the form of high citation counts over a decade. The Web of Science serves as the basis for the regular listings of researchers whose citation records position them in the top 1% by citations for their field and year.

Highly Cited Researchers (HCR): 

Clarivate Analytics has listed 6 Pakistani and 10 Indian researchers in its latest list of the world's 4000 most highly cited researchers (HCR).  There are 12 Iranians and no Bangladeshis and no Sri Lankans on it. This year's Highly Cited Researchers list includes 17 Nobel Laureates. It represents more than 60 nations, but more than 80% of them are from the 10 nations and 70% from the first five – a remarkable concentration of top talent. Here are the top 10 nations in order:  United States, United Kingdom, China, Germany, Australia, Netherlands, Canada, France, Switzerland and Spain.
Most Highly Cited Pakistani Scientists. Source: Clarivate Analytics


The United States leads among HCRs with 2,639 scientists followed by the United Kingdom's 546 and China's 482.  Top three institutions producing world's most highly cited researchers are: Harvard University (186), National Institutes of Health (148) and Stanford University (100).  Chinese Academy of Sciences ranks 4th with 99 highly cited researchers.

Research Output Growth: 

Pakistan is one of the world's top two countries where the research output rose the fastest in 2018, according to Nature Magazine. The publication reports that the "global production of scientific papers hit an all-time high this year...with emerging economies rising fastest".

Countries With Biggest Rises in Research Output. Source: Nature


Pakistan ranked first or second depending  on whether one accepts the text or the graphic (above) published by Nature.  The text says Egypt had 21% growth while the graph shows Pakistan with 21% growth. Here's an excerpt of the text: "Emerging economies showed some of the largest increases in research output in 2018, according to estimates from the publishing-services company Clarivate Analytics. Egypt and Pakistan topped the list in percentage terms, with rises of 21% and 15.9%, respectively. ...China’s publications rose by about 15%, and India, Brazil, Mexico and Iran all saw their output grow by more than 8% compared with 2017".

Scientific Output:

Pakistan's quality-adjusted scientific output (Weighted Functional Count) as reported in Nature Index has doubled from 18.03 in 2013 to 37.28 in 2017. Pakistan's global ranking has improved from 53 in 2013 to 40 in 2017. In the same period, India's WFC has increased from 850.97 in 2013 to 935.44 in 2017. India's global ranking has improved from 13 in 2013 to 11 in 2017.

Top 10 Pakistan Institutions in Scientific Output. Source: Nature Index
Pakistan's Global Ranking:

Pakistan ranks 40 among 161 countries for quality adjusted scientific output for year 2017 as reported by Nature Index 2018.  Pakistan ranks 40 with quality-adjusted scientific output of 37.28. India ranks 11 with 935. Malaysia ranks 61 with 6.73 and Indonesia ranks 63 with 6.41. Bangladesh ranks 100 with 0.81. Sri Lanka ranks 84 with 1.36. US leads with almost 15,800, followed by China's 7,500, Germany 3,800, UK 3,100 and Japan 2,700.

Nature Index:

The Nature Index is a database of author affiliation information collated from research articles published in an independently selected group of 82 high-quality science journals. The database is compiled by Nature Research. The Nature Index provides a close to real-time proxy of high-quality research output and collaboration at the institutional, national and regional level.

The Nature Index includes primary research articles published in a group of high-quality science journals. The journals included in the Nature Index are selected by a panel of active scientists, independently of Nature Research. The selection process reflects researchers’ perceptions of journal quality, rather than using quantitative measures such as Impact Factor. It is intended that the list of journals amounts to a reasonably consensual upper echelon of journals in the natural sciences and includes both multidisciplinary journals and some of the most highly selective journals within the main disciplines of the natural sciences. The journals included in the Nature Index represent less than 1% of the journals covering natural sciences in the Web of Science (Clarivate Analytics) but account for close to 30% of total citations to natural science journals.

Pakistan vs BRICS:

In a report titled "Pakistan: Another BRIC in the Wall", author Lulian Herciu says that Pakistan’s scientific productivity has quadrupled, from approximately 2,000 articles per year in 2006 to more than 9,000 articles in 2015. During this time, the number of Highly Cited Papers featuring Pakistan-based authors increased tenfold, from 9 articles in 2006 to 98 in 2015.

Top Asian Universities:

British ranking agency Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) has recently ranked 23 Pakistani universities among the top 500 Asian universities for 2019, up from 16 in 2018.  Other South Asian universities figuring in the QS top universities report are 75 from India, 6 from Bangladesh and 4 from Sri Lanka.

In terms of the number of universities ranking in Asia's top 500, Pakistan with its 23 universities ranks second in South Asia and 7th among 17 Asian nations topped by China with 112, Japan 89, India 75, South Korea 57, Taiwan 36, Malaysia 26, Pakistan 23, Indonesia 22, Thailand 19, Philippines 8, Hong Kong 7, Vietnam 7, Bangladesh 6, Sri Lanka 4, Singapore 3, Macao 2 and Brunei 2.

Summary:

Clarivate Analytics has listed 6 Pakistani and 10 Indian researchers in its latest list of the world's 4000 most highly cited researchers (HCR). There are 12 Iranians and no Bangladeshis and no Sri Lankans on it.  Pakistan is among the world's top two countries where the research output rose the fastest in 2018. Pakistan's quality-adjusted scientific output (WFC) as reported in Nature Index has doubled from 18.03 in 2013 to 37.28 in 2017. Pakistan's global ranking has improved from 53 in 2013 to 40 in 2017.  Pakistan ranks 40 with quality-adjusted scientific output of 37.28. India ranks 11 with 935. Malaysia ranks 61 with 6.73 and Indonesia ranks 63 with 6.41. Bangladesh ranks 100 with 0.81. Sri Lanka ranks 84 with 1.36.  In a report titled "Pakistan: Another BRIC in the Wall", author Lulian Herciu says that Pakistan’s scientific productivity has quadrupled, from approximately 2,000 articles per year in 2006 to more than 9,000 articles in 2015. During this time, the number of Highly Cited Papers featuring Pakistan-based authors increased tenfold, from 9 articles in 2006 to 98 in 2015.   British ranking agency Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) has recently ranked 23 Pakistani universities among the top 500 Asian universities for 2019, up from 16 in 2018.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Pakistani-American is Top US Expert in Quantum Computing

AI Research at NED University Funded By Silicon Valley NEDians

Pakistan Hi-Tech Exports Exceed A Billion US Dollars in 2018 

Pakistan Becomes CERN Member

Pakistani Scientists at CERN

Rising College Enrollment in Pakistan

Pakistani Universities Listed Among Asia's Top 500 Jump From 16 to 23 in One Year

Genomics and Biotech Research in Pakistan

Human Capital Growth in Pakistan

Educational Attainment in Pakistan

Pakistan Human Development in Musharraf Years

Monday, December 31, 2018

2018 Review: Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, and United States

How did Pakistan's political landscape change in 2018? Have the Sharif family and the PMLN been marginalized? How was the security situation after continuing decline of terror fatalities since 2013? How has PTI done so far? Will NAB-led accountability of politicians continue or intensify in 2019? How will Imran Khan's government deal with the fact that the Zardari-led PPP rules Sind? Will President Arif Alvi impose governor's rule under the Constitution's article 234 or financial emergency under the Constitution's article 235 in Sindh province? Why is financial emergency more likely? How will PPP leadership react to such a move?

President Trump has reportedly already decided to remove US troops from Afghanistan after a similar decision on American troops pull-out from Syria. Will Trump actually pull bulk of US troops from Afghanistan? How will it affect the situation there? Can Afghan government survive without the presence of US troops? Who will rule Afghanistan when the Kabul government collapses? Taliban? Will Taliban be able to pacify Afghanistan? If the Taliban take control of Afghanistan, how will this affect the neighborhood? Will instability in Afghanistan continue? Will it hurt Pakistan?

How did President Trump's administration do in 2018? What message has the loss of the House to Democrats sent to President Trump and the Republican Party? Will the chaos continue into 2019? What problems has Trump's foreign and trade policy created for the United States and its allies? How will it affect Asia and the Middle East, particularly Iran, Israel and Saudi Arabia?

Terrorism Deaths in Pakistan. Source: satp.org

Viewpoint From Overseas host Misbah Azam discusses these questions with panelists Sabahat Ashraf (iFaqeer) and Riaz Haq (www.riazhaq.com)


https://youtu.be/jiXFvRVzCZ4





Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

India-Pakistan Conventional Military Balance

Pakistan Elections 2018: PTI Prevails Over Corrupt Dynastic Political Elite

America's "We're the Good Guys" Narrative

Can PTI Help Fix Pakistan's Financial Capital Karachi's Problems?

US and China Vying For Influence in Pakistan

Pakistan-China-Russia Vs India-Japan-US

Pakistan Rising or Failing: Reality vs Perception

Pakistan's Trillion Dollar Economy Among top 25

MQM-RAW Link

Riaz Haq Youtube Channel

VPOS Youtube Channel

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Pakistan Among Top 10 Countries With Fastest Growing Ultra-Rich Population

Pakistan is among the countries with top 10 fastest growing population of ultra-high net-worth  (UHNW) individuals over the last 5 years. Bangladesh with 17.3% UHNW growth tops the list followed by China (13.4%), Vietnam (12.7%), Kenya (11.7%), India (10.7%), Hong Kong (9.3%), Ireland (9.1%), Israel (8.6%), Pakistan (8.4%) and United States (8.1%), according to World Ultra Wealth Report 2018.

Ultra-Rich Wealth Growth in 5 Years. Source: Wealth-X

Ultra-Rich Definition: 

The report compiled by Wealth-X defines ultra-high net-worth (UHNW) as an exclusive group of wealthy individuals located across the globe, each with a net worth of $30m or more. Only the top 1.1% of the world's 22.25 million millionaires qualify for inclusion in UHNW group.

Here's an excerpt of the Wealth-X report:

"According to Wealth-X estimates of global private wealth, the number of individuals with net assets of more than $1million totaled 22.3 million in 2017, with a combined net worth of $91.7 trillion. A breakdown by tier shows not only the considerable share of wealth held by the small cohort of UHNW individuals, but also that the ultra wealthy experienced faster growth in net worth than each of the three lower tiers. Almost 90% of all millionaires had a net worth of between $1m and $5m, with this group of 19.6 million individuals holding a 40% share of global millionaire wealth. Exclusivity rises significantly above the $5m threshold, as does average net worth. For example, those individuals with net assets of between $10m and $30m – the closest to attaining UHNW status – held 14% of global millionaire wealth, while accounting for a 3.6% share of the population. Rising higher still, the global ultra wealthy population accounted for just 1.2% of the world’s millionaires but held 34% of the collective wealth. Whereas population growth rates across the different wealth tiers were very similar in 2017, an increase of 16.3% in total UHNW wealth significantly outpaced the average rise of around 12.7% in each of the other three tiers."

Global Wealth Tiers. Source: Wealth-X
Credit Suisse Wealth Report:

Wealth-X report ranks Pakistan 9th in terms of ultra-rich individuals' growth while Bangladesh is ranked first and India ranked 5th. The relatively slower growth of ultra-rich in Pakistan is supported by other wealth reports as well. For example, data released by Credit Suisse with its Global Wealth Report 2017 shows that Pakistan is the most egalitarian nation in South Asia. It also confirms that the median wealth of Pakistani households is three times higher than that of households in India.

Wealth Inequality:

Inequality is measured in terms of Gini index. It ranges from 0% for perfect equality (when everyone has the same wealth)  to 100% for total inequality (when all of the wealth is owned by one person).  On this scale, Pakistan’s Gini index is 52.6%, Bangladesh’s 57.9%, Sri Lanka’s 66.5%, Nepal’s 67.3%, China’s 78.9% and India's 83%.

Data Source: Credit Suisse Graph: Counterview


Household Wealth:

Here is per capita wealth data for India and Pakistan as of mid-2017, according to Credit Suisse Wealth Report 2017 released recently.

Pakistan average wealth per adult: $5,174 vs India $5,976
Pakistan median wealth per adult: $3,338 vs India $1,295

Average household wealth in Pakistan is $15,522 (3 adults) vs India $14,940 (2.5 adults)
Median household wealth in Pakistan is $10,014  (3 adults) vs India $3,237 (2.5 adults)

Pakistan Gini Index 52.6% vs India 83%

Ownership of Appliances and Vehicles: 

Growing household wealth in developing nations like India and Pakistan is reflected in  ownership of consumer durables like computers, home appliances and vehicles. This data is sourced from periodic household surveys like NSS (National Sampling Survey) in India and PSLM (Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement) in Pakistan.

Durables Ownership in India and Pakistan. Source: KSBL


India-Pakistan Comparison:

Dr. Jawaid Abdul Ghani, a professor at Karachi School of Business Leadership, has recently analyzed household surveys in India and Pakistan to discover the following:

1.  As of 2015, car ownership in both India and Pakistan is about the same at 6% of households owning a car. However, 41% of Pakistani household own motorcycles, several points higher than India's 32%.

2. 12% of Pakistani households own a computer, slightly higher than 11% in India.

3. Higher percentage of Pakistani households own appliances such as refrigerators (Pakistan 47%, India 33%), washing machines (Pakistan 48%, India 15%) and fans (Pakistan 91%, India 83%).

4. 71% of Indian households own televisions versus 62% in Pakistan.

Durables Ownership Growth in Pakistan. Source: KSBL
Growth over Time:

Dr. Abdul Ghani has also analyzed household data to show that the percentage of Pakistani households owning washing machines has doubled while car and refrigerator ownership has tripled and motorcycle ownership jumped 6-fold from 2001 to 2014.

Income/Consumption Growth in Pakistan. Source: KSBL

Rapid Income Growth:

Rising ownership of durables in Pakistan has been driven by significant reduction in poverty and growth of household incomes, according to Dr. Abdul Ghani's research. Percentage of households with per capita income of under $2 per day per person has plummeted from 57% in 2001 to 7% in 2014. At the same time, the percentage of households earning $2 to $10 per day per person has soared from 42% of households in 2001 to 87% of households in 2014.  The percentage of those earning over $10 per day per person has jumped 7-fold from 1% of households in 2001 to 7% of households in 2014.

Summary:

Pakistan is among the countries with top 10 fastest growing population of ultra-high net-worth  (UHNW) individuals over the last 5 years. Bangladesh with 17.3% UHNW growth tops the list followed by China (13.4%), Vietnam (12.7%), Kenya (11.7%), India (10.7%), Hong Kong (9.3%), Ireland (9.1%), Israel (8.6%), Pakistan (8.4%) and United States (8.1%), according to World Ultra Wealth Report 2018. Credit Suisse wealth data for 2017 shows that Pakistan has the lowest wealth inequality in its region as measured by Gini index. Lower inequality can be seen in terms of rising percentage of households that can afford to buy durables like appliances and vehicles as reported by Dr. Abdul Ghani of Karachi School of Business and Leadership (KSBL).

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Pakistan Wealth Inequality Lowest in South Asia

2018 Year-end Review of Science and Technology in Pakistan

Remittances From Pakistan Diaspora Jumped 21X Since Year 2000

Pakistan's Middle Class Larger and Richer Than India's

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China Pakistan Economic Corridor

Thursday, December 27, 2018

2018 Year-end Review of Science and Technology in Pakistan

Pakistan saw its technology exports grow by double digits to surge past $1 billion mark in 2018. Nature magazine reported the country ranked first in the world in research output growth in year 2018. Pakistan mobile broadband subscriptions grew by 1-2 million a month to pass 60 million. Google's Singapore-based Asia business lead Lars Anthonisen wrote that "Pakistan is quickly becoming a digital-first country". Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba and its digital payments platform Alipay entered Pakistan market by acquiring Daraz.pk and Telenor EasyPaisa.  Dr. Ata ur Rahman Khan, former chairman of higher education commission, asserted in an op ed that "Pakistan churns out about 22,000 computer-science graduates each year". Pakistan set an ambitious goal for its first human space flight in 2022.  It was an exciting year for science and technology in the South Asian nation of over 200 million people.

Pakistan Technology Exports:

Pakistan's information technology exports have bucked the nation's declining exports trend with double digit growth to reach $1,065 million in fiscal year 2018, according to the State Bank of Pakistan.  It is generally believed that Pakistan's central bank underestimates technology exports. Some have argued that the actual IT exports were closer to $5 billion in fiscal 2018. Some of the differences can be attributed to the fact that the State Bank IT exports data does not include various non-IT sectors such as financial services, automobiles, and health care.

Source: State Bank of Pakistan

Pakistan IT exports surged 13.4% to $1.06 billion in fiscal year 2018 from $939 million in fiscal year 2017. The growth was even more robust in the prior year with IT exports rising 19.1% from $789 million in fiscal 2016 to reach $939 million in fiscal year 2017.

Source: State Bank of Pakistan

About $320 million of IT exports revenue in fiscal 2018 came from software exports while the rest was made up of services such as consulting, telecom and call centers.

Scientific Research Output:

Pakistan is one of the world's top two countries where the research output rose the fastest in 2018, according to Nature Magazine. The publication reports that the "global production of scientific papers hit an all-time high this year...with emerging economies rising fastest".

Countries With Biggest Rises in Research Output. Source: Nature


Pakistan ranked first or second depending  on whether one accepts the text or the graphic (above) published by Nature.  The text says Egypt had 21% growth while the graph shows Pakistan with 21% growth. Here's an excerpt of the text: "Emerging economies showed some of the largest increases in research output in 2018, according to estimates from the publishing-services company Clarivate Analytics. Egypt and Pakistan topped the list in percentage terms, with rises of 21% and 15.9%, respectively. ...China’s publications rose by about 15%, and India, Brazil, Mexico and Iran all saw their output grow by more than 8% compared with 2017".

Pakistan's quality-adjusted scientific output (Weighted Functional Count) as reported in Nature Index has doubled from 18.03 in 2013 to 37.28 in 2017. Pakistan's global ranking has improved from 53 in 2013 to 40 in 2017. In the same period, India's WFC has increased from 850.97 in 2013 to 935.44 in 2017. India's global ranking has improved from 13 in 2013 to 11 in 2017.

Pakistan Telecom Indicators. Source: PTA

Digital Growth:

Mobile broadband subscriptions (3G and 4G) grew at a rate of 1-2 million per month to pass 60 million in 2018, according to data from Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).  Rising digital infrastructure is enabling a whole range of applications from e-commerce to digital payments and greater financial inclusion. It prompted Google's Singapore-based Asia business lead to write that "Pakistan is quickly becoming a digital-first country"

Alipay, a subsidiary of Hangzhou-based Ant Financial, has received approval by the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) to acquire a 45 percent stake in Pakistan's Telenor Microfinance Bank for $184 million.  Alipay's entry is expected to expedite widespread adoption of digital payments in the country. Several domestic mobile payment services offered by telecom operators are currently operating in Pakistan. The lack of international reach has kept the penetration rate of the payment portals relatively low. Entry of Alipay, the world's largest mobile payment platform, will intensify digital payments competition,  improve the quality of service, energize the industry and enhance financial inclusion in a country where less than 20% of the population has bank accounts.

E-Commerce Growth:

At the World Economic Forum in 2017, Ebay’s chief executive Devin Wenig highlighted Pakistan as one of the fastest growing e-commerce markets in the world.  It might have prompted Alibaba to acquire Daraz.pk, Pakistan’s largest e-commerce platform, in May 2018.

Online sales in Pakistan's $152 billion retail market are doubling every year,  according to Adam Dawood of Yayvo online portal.  The country's retail market is the fastest growing in the world, according to Euromonitor.  Expanding middle class, particularly millennials with rising disposable incomes, is demanding branded and packaged consumer goods ranging from personal and baby care items to food and beverage products. Strong demand for fast moving consumer goods is drawing large new investments of hundreds of millions of dollars.  Rapid growth in sales of consumer products and services is driving other sectors, including retail, e-commerce, paper and packaging, advertising, media, sports and entertainment. Potential downsides of soaring consumption include increased amount of  solid waste and decline in domestic savings and investment rates.

Summary:

Pakistan saw its technology exports grow by double digits to surge pass $1 billion mark in 2018. Nature magazine reported the country ranked first in the world in research output growth in year 2018. Pakistan mobile broadband subscriptions grew by 1-2 million a month to pass 60 million. Google's Singapore-based Asia business lead wrote that "Pakistan is quickly becoming a digital-first country". Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba and its digital payments platform Alipay entered Pakistan market by acquiring Daraz.pk and Telenor EasyPaisa.  Dr. Ata ur Rahman Khan, former chairman of higher education commission, asserted in an op ed that "Pakistan churns out about 22,000 computer-science graduates each year". Pakistan set an ambitious goal for its first human space flight in 2022.  It was an exciting year for science and technology in the South Asian nation of over 200 million people.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Pakistan's Research Output Growth Fastest in the World

Alibaba Enters Pakistan Market

Alipay Enters Pakistan Market

AI Research at NED University Funded By Silicon Valley NEDians

Pakistan Hi-Tech Exports Exceed A Billion US Dollars in 2018 

Pakistan Becomes CERN Member

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Sunday, December 23, 2018

Pakistani-American Scientist Irfan Siddiqi is Top Expert in Quantum Computing

Karachi-born Pakistani-American Dr. Irfan Siddiqi is the head of Lawrence Livermore Quantum Computing Lab at the University of California at Berkeley.  He's also one of the architects of the United States Quantum Initiative backed by industry, academia and the federal government.

Silicon Valley Diversity:

Dr. Siddiqi was recently featured on Silicon Valley-based NBC Press Here TV hosted by Scott McGrew. Others who made an appearance in the same show were Krishna Motukuri and Kevin Guo. Motukori is Indian-American founder of Zippin which is pushing automated checkout technology that will obviate the need for buyers to stand in line to pay. Amazon is already using this technology at Amazon Go stores. Kevin Guo is Chinese-American founder of AI startup Hive. This show was a good representation of Silicon Valley's diversity with many immigrant techies at its center. In fact, minorities are now majority is Silicon Valley.

Dr. Siddiqi's Background:

Dr. Siddiqi was born in Karachi, Pakistan. He came to the United States in his teen years with his family and graduated from the Bronx High School of Science, Bronx, NY. Then he got his bachelor's degree from Harvard and Ph.D. at Yale where he worked on superconducting qubits, also written as q-bits. Dr. Siddiqi has been teaching at UC Berkeley since 2006.

Dr. Irfan Siddiqi
Quantum Computing:

In quantum computing, a qubit or quantum bit is the basic unit of quantum information—the quantum version of the classical binary bit physically realized with a two-state device. Here's how Dr. Siddiqui explained quantum computing in an interview with Design News:

"For me, any quantum technology, including quantum computing, is something that takes advantage of entanglement. And entanglement is the idea that if you have different pieces of matter and you put them together, they behave as a single unit. So, for example, each of the bits in a classical computer are independent of each other. If you flip one, it doesn't affect the one next to it. In a quantum computers all of these bits have correlation with each other so they're all tied together like one big mass. In fact, the number of states that they can occupy is exponentially larger because of these linkages between neighboring elements. Quantum computing is the science of manipulating this entangled set of bits for some particular problem of interest in either fundamental science and computation or to do a simulation of the natural world."

Quantum Computing Applications:

Top American tech companies are racing to build a new generation of powerful quantum computers backed by $1.3 billion commitment from US Congress to help them compete with the Chinese. Advanced quantum computing power will likely have many defense and intelligence applications like decrypting computer coded messages. Potential civilian applications include new drug discovery and artificial intelligence.

Summary:

Dr. Irfan Siddiqui is a Karachi-born Pakistani-American scientist engaged in leading edge research in quantum computing. He's part of the increasingly diverse technology workforce of Silicon Valley, California where immigrants  from  many emerging economies such as India, Pakistan and China are helping define the future.

Here's a video of Dr. Irfan Siddiqi speaking on quantum computing:

https://youtu.be/4dfoCf-noHE





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Saturday, December 22, 2018

Pakistan's Research Output Growth Among the World's Fastest in 2018

Pakistan is one of the world's top two countries where the research output rose the fastest in 2018, according to Nature Magazine. The publication reports that the "global production of scientific papers hit an all-time high this year...with emerging economies rising fastest".

Countries With Biggest Rises in Research Output. Source: Nature

Research Output:

Pakistan ranked first or second depending  on whether one accepts the text or the graphic (above) published by Nature.  The text says Egypt had 21% growth while the graph shows Pakistan with 21% growth. Here's an excerpt of the text: "Emerging economies showed some of the largest increases in research output in 2018, according to estimates from the publishing-services company Clarivate Analytics. Egypt and Pakistan topped the list in percentage terms, with rises of 21% and 15.9%, respectively. ...China’s publications rose by about 15%, and India, Brazil, Mexico and Iran all saw their output grow by more than 8% compared with 2017".

Scientific Output:

Pakistan's quality-adjusted scientific output (Weighted Functional Count) as reported in Nature Index has doubled from 18.03 in 2013 to 37.28 in 2017. Pakistan's global ranking has improved from 53 in 2013 to 40 in 2017. In the same period, India's WFC has increased from 850.97 in 2013 to 935.44 in 2017. India's global ranking has improved from 13 in 2013 to 11 in 2017.

Top 10 Pakistan Institutions in Scientific Output. Source: Nature Index
Pakistan's Global Ranking:

Pakistan ranks 40 among 161 countries for quality adjusted scientific output for year 2017 as reported by Nature Index 2018.  Pakistan ranks 40 with quality-adjusted scientific output of 37.28. India ranks 11 with 935. Malaysia ranks 61 with 6.73 and Indonesia ranks 63 with 6.41. Bangladesh ranks 100 with 0.81. Sri Lanka ranks 84 with 1.36. US leads with almost 15,800, followed by China's 7,500, Germany 3,800, UK 3,100 and Japan 2,700.

Nature Index:

The Nature Index is a database of author affiliation information collated from research articles published in an independently selected group of 82 high-quality science journals. The database is compiled by Nature Research. The Nature Index provides a close to real-time proxy of high-quality research output and collaboration at the institutional, national and regional level.

The Nature Index includes primary research articles published in a group of high-quality science journals. The journals included in the Nature Index are selected by a panel of active scientists, independently of Nature Research. The selection process reflects researchers’ perceptions of journal quality, rather than using quantitative measures such as Impact Factor. It is intended that the list of journals amounts to a reasonably consensual upper echelon of journals in the natural sciences and includes both multidisciplinary journals and some of the most highly selective journals within the main disciplines of the natural sciences. The journals included in the Nature Index represent less than 1% of the journals covering natural sciences in the Web of Science (Clarivate Analytics) but account for close to 30% of total citations to natural science journals.

Pakistan vs BRICS:

In a report titled "Pakistan: Another BRIC in the Wall", author Lulian Herciu says that Pakistan’s scientific productivity has quadrupled, from approximately 2,000 articles per year in 2006 to more than 9,000 articles in 2015. During this time, the number of Highly Cited Papers featuring Pakistan-based authors increased tenfold, from 9 articles in 2006 to 98 in 2015.

Top Asian Universities:

British ranking agency Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) has recently ranked 23 Pakistani universities among the top 500 Asian universities for 2019, up from 16 in 2018.  Other South Asian universities figuring in the QS top universities report are 75 from India, 6 from Bangladesh and 4 from Sri Lanka.

In terms of the number of universities ranking in Asia's top 500, Pakistan with its 23 universities ranks second in South Asia and 7th among 17 Asian nations topped by China with 112, Japan 89, India 75, South Korea 57, Taiwan 36, Malaysia 26, Pakistan 23, Indonesia 22, Thailand 19, Philippines 8, Hong Kong 7, Vietnam 7, Bangladesh 6, Sri Lanka 4, Singapore 3, Macao 2 and Brunei 2.

Summary:

Pakistan is among the world's top two countries where the research output rose the fastest in 2018. Pakistan's quality-adjusted scientific output (WFC) as reported in Nature Index has doubled from 18.03 in 2013 to 37.28 in 2017. Pakistan's global ranking has improved from 53 in 2013 to 40 in 2017.  Pakistan ranks 40 with quality-adjusted scientific output of 37.28. India ranks 11 with 935. Malaysia ranks 61 with 6.73 and Indonesia ranks 63 with 6.41. Bangladesh ranks 100 with 0.81. Sri Lanka ranks 84 with 1.36.  In a report titled "Pakistan: Another BRIC in the Wall", author Lulian Herciu says that Pakistan’s scientific productivity has quadrupled, from approximately 2,000 articles per year in 2006 to more than 9,000 articles in 2015. During this time, the number of Highly Cited Papers featuring Pakistan-based authors increased tenfold, from 9 articles in 2006 to 98 in 2015.   British ranking agency Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) has recently ranked 23 Pakistani universities among the top 500 Asian universities for 2019, up from 16 in 2018.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

AI Research at NED University Funded By Silicon Valley NEDians

Pakistan Hi-Tech Exports Exceed A Billion US Dollars in 2018 

Pakistan Becomes CERN Member

Pakistani Scientists at CERN

Rising College Enrollment in Pakistan

Pakistani Universities Listed Among Asia's Top 500 Jump From 16 to 23 in One Year

Genomics and Biotech Research in Pakistan

Human Capital Growth in Pakistan

Educational Attainment in Pakistan

Pakistan Human Development in Musharraf Years