Outlook India report said 125 employees at a US-based information technology service provider were laid off in Noida in New Delhi, India, and the very next day an equal number of workers started working for the company in Islamabad, Pakistan. Here's an excerpt of Outlook India story:
"On the night of November 1, stretching into early next morning, close to half the workforce at the Noida office of a US-based IT service provider was informed that their services were no longer needed. A former employee says salaries for the staff at the Noida office were declared delayed by a day on October 31. The official explanation was that the servers were not working. “They weren’t clear about how many people were going to be laid off,” he says. The next night, they “axed 125 people in half-an-hour.” They all got a severance package—a cheque for October and another two months of salary—and a termination letter. Rumors of layoffs had started doing the rounds four to five months ago. The talk was that the company was opening offices in a neighboring country. Curiously, the day the workforce in Noida was sacked, almost the same number of employees for the same low-level IT-enabled jobs logged into their systems, 676 kilometers away, in Islamabad, Pakistan. Job cuts have plagued the Indian IT sector for about two years now and have begun to get pretty serious from the start of this year. “Bloodbath in Bangalore” has been the recurring headline. But the trend of these jobs going to techies in Pakistan is more recent. Away from all the noise of ceasefire violations and surgical strikes, where Pakistan could really hurt India is in taking away low-end IT jobs. The neighbor has a budding IT industry, growing in its own space, looking to emulate the Indian IT success story where right now data operators and BPO callers come much cheaper."
The story did not identify the company by name.
Pakistan: The Next Software Hub?
There are tens of thousands of Pakistani IT engineers working in the West, particularly in Silicon Valley, the high-tech capital of the world. The popular entertainment industry recognizes this fact by featuring a Pakistani-American software engineer in lead role played by a real-life Pakistani-American Kumail Nanjiani in HBO's "Silicon Valley" serial. Articles like the New York Times Op Ed piece in 2015 titled "Pakistan, the Next Software Hub?" have helped raise the profile of Pakistan's information technology industry in the West.
Afiniti and Careem: Tech Unicorns Made in Pakistan:
Afiniti and Careem are two technology unicorns engineered in Pakistan by Pakistanis. AI (artificial intelligence) startup Afiniti software has largely been engineered in Lahore while taxi hailing service Careem's technology has mostly been developed in Karachi.
Careem is a taxi hailing app that is giving its American competitor Uber a run for its money in a region stretching from Pakistan to the Middle East and North Africa. The company cofounded by Mudassir Sheika, a Pakistani national, is headquartered in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
Careem's software has been developed by its technology partner VentureDive based in Karachi, Pakistan. VentureDive was started by serial Pakistani entrepreneur Atif Azim who sold his earlier startup Perfigo to network equipment giant Cisco for $74 million in 2004, according to a report in Tech in Asia.
Washington D.C. based AI technology firm Afiniti, founded by serial Pakistani-American entrepreneur Zia Chishti, has filed for initial public offering (IPO) at $1.6 billion valuation, according to VentureBeat. The company has grown out of the technology used in the Pakistan-based call center business of The Resource Group (TRG) also founded by Zia Chishti.
Bulk of the Afiniti development team is located in Thokar Niaz Baig, Lahore. In addition, the company has development team members in Islamabad and Karachi.
Numbers, Skills and Cost:
Pakistani universities are producing over 10,000 IT engineers annually. Many of them have demonstrated their quality and skills by freelancing for American and European companies. Pakistani freelancers consistently rank among the top three year after year.
In terms of cost, Pakistani engineers cost significantly less than engineers in India and elsewhere. The average salary of a software engineer ($110,000) in Silicon Valley is about 20X more than the average salaries in India ($6,875) and Pakistan ($4,770), according to Glassdoor.
Recent move of 125 IT jobs from Noida to Islamabad in an indication that Pakistan is becoming an attractive destination for software and information technology companies looking for highly skilled talent at significant discounts. It is an emerging center of technology with at least two unicorns, Afiniti and Careem, engineered by Pakistanis in Pakistan. With growing numbers of young homegrown Pakistani technologists, a highly skilled diaspora and an evolving startup ecosystem with incubators, accelerators and investors, the country is beginning to demonstrate its vast potential as a vibrant technology hub of the future. Provincial governments, particularly those in Punjab and KP, are showing leadership in encouraging this trend. The main ingredients are all coming together to make things happen in Pakistan.
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Hi Riaz. Just wanted to update you. Since 11 months I am heading a federal government technology fund that has launched several projects including a network of world class incubators across the country, a program to train 1 million people in digital skills, and funding of 30 startups and tech development projects in 4th Industrial Wave tech like AI, IoT, Robotics, Implantables, Big Data, cloud infrastructure, cyber security. We also do studies which help introduce incentives like tax breaks for startups. Check us out at www.ignite.org.pk and at @igniteNTF on FB, Twitter and Linkedin. Let me know if you need further info.
Yusuf: "Just wanted to update you. Since 11 months I am heading a federal government technology fund that has launched several projects including a network of world class incubators across the country, a program to train 1 million ......"
That's great. Would you like to write a guest post for my blog? I'll publish it under your name. My blog is widely read in US and Europe as well as in South Asia. Let me know.
Would love to. Published 5 articles in national dailies over last few months on our programs. Will send you some links and also take a look at your blog again.
The computer services exports of Pakistan have seen an increase of 32.11 percent during the first two months of the current fiscal year 2017-18, as compared to the last year, according to the report of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS). Pakistan has earned $111.38 million against the services worth $84.31 million during the period.
During the past 4 years, IT Industry has contributed 98% to Pakistan’s economy by foreign exchange earnings, as stated by Minister for IT Anusha Rehman. IT industry in Pakistan is flourishing as Pakistan has earned $54.37m by exporting software consultancy services, showing growth of 69.22 percent as compared to exports of $32.126m last year.
According to the data revealed by PBS, hardware consultancy services exports have also seen an increase of 144.41 percent to $0.72 million as compared to the last year’s export of $0.3 million of the same services. Similarly, the maintenance and repair services for computers also seen a slight increase of $0.39 million as compared to $0.23 million of last year, showing growth of 68.97 million.
In general, the exports of the country have earlier seen a decline by 12% in the past fiscal year 2015-16, while the current fiscal year seems to get a boost by the export services of IT and Telecom sector. However, the trade of computer software services observed a negative growth of 1.01 percent during first two months, declining to $40.766 million this year from $41.181 million during the last year.
However, the export of telecommunication services has not been a much success for Pakistan. The export of telecom services from the country decreased by 0.93 percent by going down from the trade of $63.43 million last year to $62.84 million during the current fiscal year.
It must be noted that general services exports from Pakistan have seen an immense increase by 4.94 percent during the period under review while comparing to the same period of last year. With this considerable increase of $816.27 million of this year, compared to the exports of 777.84 million in last year, Pakistan is witnessing the great potential of its IT and Telecom sector in this era of digitalization.
#Pakistan #IT services #exports register 14.5% growth in fiscal Q1 to reach $252 million. On track for exporting over one billion US$ in FY2017-18 https://pakobserver.net/icts-services-exports-register-14-5pc-growth-q1/ … via @PakObserver
The exports of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) services and related sectors have registered a double digit growth of 14.5 per cent, surging to US $ 252 million during first quarter of this year.
During same period of July to September 2016-17, the exports recorded in this domain were US $ 220.2 million.
The statistics issued by State Bank of Pakistan have showed that local companies and startups related to Information Technology (IT) and similar sectors have continued to expand their market share in foreign market as value of exports recorded double digit growth.
Pakistani companies usually export ICT services to United States, Middle East and North African countries. Major heads of exports included software and hardware consultancy, telecommunication services, call center services and export of software.
In last financial year 2016-17, IT exports and related services touched nearly US $ 1 billion reaching an all-time high. It is expected that exports will cross the US $ 1 billion mark this year.
According to Pakistan Software Exports Board (PSEB), Pakistan’s has been showing a healthy growth rate of IT & ITES exports in South Asia during the last three years. It grew by 71 per cent from June 2013 to June 2016.
In last financial year as well, Pakistan’s IT and related services exports have grown at a faster pace than India and Sri Lanka. Pakistan’s growth rate during 2016-17 was 16 per cent whereas Sri Lanka was at 5 per cent.
The statistics of IT services exports are usually labelled as remittances under IT sector but the industry strongly believes that overall exports are three times higher than the reported numbers which includes exports of services by freelancers and various IT services in different sectors such as financial and textile sectors.
Accordingly, the exports of IT and related services stand US $ 756 million by end of first quarter of 2017-18, which will likely to touch a mark of US $ 3 billion as per estimates.
In this regard, the central bank is working to bring IT companies and service providers on-board. It has designed a reporting structure of inflows that will help in increasing inflows of IT sector in future if companies follow this pattern.—APP
Pak economy performs robustly in 1Q, with fiscal deficit at 1.2 percent
With the fiscal deficit recorded at 1.2 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), the federal government's financial operations and debt statistics for the first quarter of the current fiscal year (1QFY17) show strong performance and prudent expenditure.
On one hand, the revenue collection — especially that from taxes — registered a strong growth of over 20 percent during 1QFY17, while, on the other, the government's domestic and external borrowings were kept under check, a finance ministry spokesperson said in a statement here Tuesday.
The spokesperson stated that there were expenditure controls as well, which reflected on the prudent fiscal management and government's resolve to maintain this momentum in the remaining quarters of the year.
Based on the actual data, the overall fiscal deficit during 1QFY17 was recorded at 1.2 percent of the GDP as opposed to 1.3 percent during the last year's corresponding period, the spokesperson added.
He said the total consolidated federal and provincial revenue amounted to Rs. 1.025 trillion, which reflects an 18.9-percent increase over same period last year.
The tax collection by Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) amounted to Rs. 765 billion — denoting a hefty growth of over 20 percent — while the non-tax receipts for the period amounted to Rs. 114 billion, which are also higher when compared to the same period, last year.
The total expenditure during the period amounted to Rs. 1.466 trillion, of which the current and development expenditures were Rs. 1.241 trillion and Rs 0.221 trillion, respectively.
The statistical discrepancy for the period July-September 2017 amounted to Rs. 4 billion compared to Rs. 38 billion during last year's same period.
The spokesperson said the civil accounts data of the federal government's revenue receipts and expenditure in 1QFY17 was received from the office of Accountant General Pakistan Revenues (AGPR), financing data from Economic Affairs Division (EAD) — external financing — and from the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).
Likewise, the civil accounts data of the provincial government's revenue receipts and expenditure in 1QFY17 was received from the provincial Accountant General (AGs).
He added that the deficit figure reported earlier was based on the SBP's daily cash balance reports, which did not include the financing on account of project aid and financing from National Savings Schemes.
The financing from project aid was substantially higher on account of roads and infrastructure, he said.
The spokesperson said around 47 percent of the budget estimates were received as project aid financing during July-September 2017 on that account.
This has mainly been received during September 2017, while incremental receipts on account of National Savings Schemes have recently been reported by the SBP, he added.
The federal government deposits with the SBP, he stated, also reduced during September 2017.
Therefore, after including the aforementioned financing data, the overall fiscal deficit for the July-September 2017 period amounted to 1.2 percent of the GDP against 1.5-1.8 percent of GDP projected by some analysts.
The spokesperson said a section of the media had drawn some premature conclusions on debt performance of the government based on the data for the first two months of the current fiscal year. He clarified that choosing to evaluate debt statistics based on two-month numbers was a flawed method that led to misrepresentation.
He said as debt numbers from relevant agencies — such as Economic Affairs Division, Budget Wing, National Saving and State Bank — were received and consolidated for 1QFY17, it had become quite clear that the upwards bump in public debt was well below the analysts' forecasts.
International conference on emerging technologies: Chairman HEC for translating opportunities into reality
Higher Education Commission (HEC) Chairman Dr Mukhtar Ahmed has stressed on the need for translating the opportunities created by new technologies into reality while ensuring a positive use of advanced gadgets.
He said that the HEC is committed to facilitating universities and encouraging research activities. “We need to conduct researches that cast positive impacts on society and mitigates the miseries of humanity,” he underlined.
He expressed these views while speaking as a chief guest at the two-day 13th International Conference on Emerging Technologies (ICET) jointly organized by the Capital University of Science and Technology (CUST), in collaboration with the HEC and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Islamabad.
CUST Vice-Chancellor Dr Mansoor Ahmed, Professor Aamer Iqbal Bhatti, ICET General Chair and a large number of faculty members and students were also present on the occasion.
The HEC Chairman pointed out that water and food security will become vital issues in the near future. He emphasised that the solution to all social ills including terrorism, poverty and unemployment lies in the promotion of education.
“It is the era of a knowledge economy and no nation can make progress without promoting education,” he stated. He said that the universities are responsible for imparting education, creating knowledge and integrating it into society. He urged the faculty to pay special attention to the training of students, as training is imperative for a peaceful society.
Shedding light on the achievements of the HEC during the last 15 years, the chairman said that HEC set off on its journey when Pakistan had only 59 universities, adding that the number of universities in the country has now reached 188. He maintained that the HEC has been putting strenuous efforts to promote ICT in the country.
“Pakistan has one of the best ICT setups of South Asia”, he informed.
He also announced that the HEC plans to establish centres of excellence in data and artificial intelligence.
Sharing the background of the conference, Professor Aamer Iqbal Bhatti said that the first international conference on emerging technologies was held in 2005. He said CUST lays great emphasis on applied research and the 13th ICET is a testimony to that fact. He appreciated the role of the HEC and IEEE Islamabad in collaborating to organise the conference.
#India's #IT layoffs in 2017 top 56,000, led by Infosys and Cognizant — Quartz. #unemployment #technology
For Indian techies, 2017 was the stuff of nightmares.
Since Trump took office, the fate of the H-1B, a six-year temporary work visa that Indian IT companies heavily depend on, has been hanging fire.
In March 2017, the US government stalled the premium processing of this visa category.
The criteria for computer programmers to apply for the H-1B visa became tougher. In April, Trump signed the “Buy American, Hire American” executive order, promising to bring jobs back to the country, putting migrant workers in jeopardy. In November, the judicial committee of the US House of Representatives gave its nod to the Protect and Grow American Jobs Act (titled HR 170) which classifies any company that has more 15% of its workforce working on-site as “visa-dependent.” With this, the pressure is mounting on Indian outsourcing giants which sometimes have over 50% of their manpower working on-site.
Even the current workers have cause for concern—to clamp down on visa fraud, the United States Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) plans to double the number of visits to workplaces. “Indian IT companies, thus far champions of IT-based outsourcing, have been forced to go back to the drawing board in order to reposition themselves higher up in the value chain,” Anshul Prakash, a partner at Mumbai-based legal services firm Khaitan & Co, told Quartz.
One of the top employment generators until a few years ago, India’s $160 billion IT industry laid off more than 56,000 employees this year. Some analysts believe this spree was worse than the one during the 2008 financial crisis. Meanwhile, hiring plummeted, with entry-level openings having more than halved in 2017, according to experts.
Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Infosys, two of India’s largest IT companies and once leaders in job creation, reduced their headcounts for the first time ever. Even mid-sized players like Tech Mahindra retrenched several employees. (However, TCS’s staff addition recovered after a fall during April-June 2017 and rose 0.8% in the following quarter).
“Digitisation and automation brought about disruption in traditional roles, which means that most of the IT firms found themselves reassessing the capability of the talent pool to stay market relevant,” Arun Paul, vice-president of human resources at Incedo, an IT service management company, told Quartz.
When hell broke loose
Compared to the normal rate of forced attrition (i.e. asking non-performers to leave) of around 1% in earlier years, 2017 saw Indian IT companies letting go of between 2% and 6% of their employees, said Alka Dhingra, general manager of IT staffing at TeamLease Services.
Infosys cut 9,000 jobs in January. “Instead of 10 people, what if we have three people to work on (a project). If we don’t have the software, then some others will take the advantage (away from us),” Vishal Sikka, the former CEO of the Bengaluru-based company, said in February.
Meanwhile, around 6,000 Indian employees at Cognizant reportedly lost their jobs to automation. Mumbai-based Tech Mahindra implemented a cost optimisation plan of increasing automation and reducing manpower. It turned ugly in July when the firm made headlines over a controversial audio clip that featured an HR personnel purportedly coercing an employee into quitting by 10am the next day, or risk being fired.
Moreover, it wasn’t just about those at the bottom of the IT pyramid. Pink slips were doled out to even senior employees with outdated skills.
Once a struggling startup, now a success story
by Sarfraz Ali | Published on January 25, 2018 ��
The serial entrepreneur, mentor, co-author of “New Success Secrets”, “L.E.G Formula” and the founder of Global Social Entrepreneurship Foundation, Muhammad Siddique, compiled data on such projects, says the Momentum Tech Conference 2018 has even more opportunities for the enterprises from its last year’s edition. He says the enterprise world is ready to help the Pakistani entrepreneurs to say goodbye to their excuses. “This year, Fortune 500 mentors and representatives of world’s top online brands will be in Pakistan to help startups,” he said.
Of the long list of the online startups, there is the Nearpeer.org. This is an online professional courses portal where the users can learn at a self-directed pace. The startup won the second prize at the Momentum Tech Conference 2017. Its co-founder Ammar Ali Ayub who with his friend, tried to be a job provider while graduating from LUMS. Now, he has a team of 25 people and provides jobs to many dozen people. Ammar’s advice to startups is: never give up.
Ali Gohar Wassan is the co-founder of TheUniPedia, an online portal for universities entry test preparations with self-assessment, explanations and dedicated tutors to enhance the learning level of students. Ali Gohar is himself is a university dropout but he saw an opportunity in directing the people to the university education, and in the process now he provides jobs to hundreds of tutors and a full-time seven people team. Ask him about his secret to success, and smiles: have mentors, leave out excuses and be fair to yourself. He says meetups like Momentum Tech Conference are never to be missed. “It is the venue where from we got payment solutions and universities connections.
Also, at the conference will be Sehat.com.pk Marketing Director Bilal Mumtaz. His online medicine supply is a real breakthrough in Pakistan’s health system. The startup came into being when his project won a $150,000 seed money from a Canadian university, and since then the project has achieved many landmarks and has faced and overcome critical issues like fake medicine supplies. His priority is to provide cheap, good quality medicines to the people in rural areas at their doorstep in the quickest possible way. His secret success is: my network is my net-worth.
The online journey has brought Hyder Khan to Hyderabad from his hometown Badin. This under-30 startup star is running two projects: one, software development and two, accounting consultancy. Just one year ago, he had invested Rs5,000 in his online business and now, he has a team of six people for both businesses.
Qasim Asad Salam’s TheCampusFeed.com is also a new rage among the university students. The idea emerged when this LUMS student was in the final year and had been finding very hard to connect with other students. He thought of connecting with other students through a social network where everyone could speak on any issue maintaining anonymity. The idea was realized into a reality when it won a Rs300,000 prize at the Momentum Tech Conference 2017. That was a great push, and now the project is being run by six people. His advice to the struggling enterprises: be passionate, do not chase money and be extremely hardworking.
Last but not least stands Sameer Ahmed Khan whose application SocialChamp.io won the first prize at Momentum Tech Conference 2017. This application caters to need all social media users. His story and struggle are very inspirational. A spate of failures did not deter him from working again and again and at the end of the day, he met with success. Such success stories and connections are learned and earned at the events like Momentum Tech Conference. This year, the event is going to be held on February 19 and 20 in Karachi.
#Pakistan Climbs Up #IT Ladder, Catches Global Attention. #technology #software
.... Pakistan’s tiny IT sector is carving out a niche for itself -- so much so that it has been the subject of several stories in international publications such as the New York Times, the Global Post, Al Jazeera, to name a few. Perhaps the interest is because of the obvious potential of the industry: There are now 1,500 registered IT companies in Pakistan, and 10,000 IT grads enter the market every year.
Perhaps even more significantly, the democratisation of demand as facilitated by the internet-era, has enabled Pakistan to climb up market ranks to become the No. 3 country for supplying freelance programmers, behind only the United States and India, and up from No. 5 just two years ago. This is because programmers in Pakistan can easily sign up to platforms such as Upwork or Fiverr, where the person hiring them is less interested in their location and more concerned with their skill. Because the programmer in Pakistan is using a third party platform, logistical, bureaucratic and other constraints that are typically associated with Pakistan, including corruption, do not apply.
As reported by The New York Times, Pakistan ranks in the upper 10 to 25 percent on Upwork’s listing of growth rates for top-earning countries, alongside India, Canada and Ukraine. Pakistan’s freelance programmers already account for $850 million of the country’s software exports; that number could go up to $1 billion in the next several months, says Umar Saif, who heads the Punjab IT Board and previously taught and did research work at M.I.T.
As reported by the Global Post, Pakistan’s software export industry employs some 24,000 people, according to government figures. Most companies in Pakistan’s IT sector — including mobile game studios — are growing at more than 30 percent a year, says Pakistan’s software industry trade body, P@SHA.
.....Naseeb Networks International, a Lahore-based company that runs the online job marketplace Rozee.pk, announced that it had won a third round of investments worth $6.5 million, from the European investment firms Vostok Nafta and Piton Capital. The latest round of funding brought the company’s total venture capital funding to $8.5 million.
Or take the example of Caramel Tech Studios, a Pakistan-based mobile game startup that created the sensation “Fruit Ninja” for an Australian developer. Another such startup in Pakistan is Mindstorm Studios, maker of “Whacksy Taxi,” a racing game that topped Apple’s App Store in more than 25 countries.
And while constraints such as bureaucracy, shortage of land/space for offices, power shortages, et cetera remain a challenge, they are offset by positives, most importantly cost. “If we have a million dollars in the bank ... in the US we might only be able to make one and a half games, whereas here we might be able to make 10 games,” Saad Zaeem of Caramel Tech Studios told The Global Post, adding that graduates here are as qualified as Western ones and cost a lot less to employ, giving software startups a competitive advantage over high-wage Western countries.
Further, the rise of the mobile software market has been a huge gamechanger. “Prior to the iPhone … it was a very closed-door system,” said Babar Ahmed, Mindstorm’s co-founder and CEO. “So you had to apply for a developer’s license to Nintendo or Microsoft or Sony. And they’d vet your studio out, they’d look at your resumes. They’d only give their [software development kit] to, like, very select studios. That’s not the case anymore” (as quoted in The Global Post).
Ideas meet investments: Momentum Pakistan 2018 kicks off in Karachi
Startups, entrepreneurs, tech giants, social media stars, musicians; Momentum’18, one of Pakistan’s biggest tech conference, had it all covered under one roof.
Pakistan’s most awaited tech conference, Momentum Pakistan 2018 initiated yesterday, February 19 and will also continue today, February 20. The annual event attracted numerous startups, entrepreneurs, incubators, and national and international investors. The conference also hosted number of global companies including Facebook, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, IBM and many others, of which’s delegates along with setting up their stalls, gave inspirational speeches too.
“I think this is a great platform where tech startups, investors, and IT vendors can meet and get support. My aim is to help these startups grow in Pakistan and abroad by giving them a platform,” expressed Chrystele Dumont from Microsoft.
The conference was a home for 250+ startups. Ranging from e-commerce and marketing based, to incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) into everyday products and turning them into smart technology, the conference contained all.
Ignite, Qubolt, Fori Mazdoori, Botsify etc. were among the many names promoting their various products such as chat bots, holograms, robots, smart courier services and more.
The conference proved to be a great platform for women too who showcased their products. Developing smart technology such as ‘Rough Road Detection’, brain-driven ‘Intellectual Wheel Chair’, ‘Vision Detector’ for visually impaired, and ‘iSecure’ smart watches for eradicating child abduction etc. proved that women are no less than men.
“It’s time for us women to have a ripple effect and be positive,” expressed Gia Farooqui, CEO of Roshni Rides.
The Pakistani Indian, Asha Jadeja from Dot Edu Ventures also said, “Pakistan has the most exciting ecosystem that is growing. Technology is at its beginning phase here and it is developing more.”
Moreover, the conference also consisted of amazing speakers and panels from startups and from renowned firms all across the world. Asha Jadeja from Dot Edu Ventures, CEO of Foodpanda, Telenor, Careem etc., USAID representatives, Lashley Pulcifer from Hashoo Groups, Chrystele Dumont from Microsoft, were a few of the esteemed speakers that spoke on different topics regarding investments, women empowerment, Pakistani entrepreneurial ecosystem, tech startups and much more.
“Events like these are very important, they bring together everyone to inspire,” said Lashley Pulcifer, Chief Marketing Officer of Hashoo Group.
Lastly, the day was not all about speeches and promotional stalls. The event’s first day ended with a standup comedy by the popular social media star Junaid Akram where he left the audience laughing. It was followed by a concert from the ‘Call’ that marked a perfect ending to the first day of Momentum Pakistan 2018.
Talking about the event, Junaid Akram said, “This is a platform to bring startups together. Things like these are not highlighted in Pakistan, and events like these bring everyone under one roof, bridging investors and creators.”
#PTI's 14-Point for #Digital #Pakistan. #Elections2018 #ImranKhan https://www.techjuice.pk/pti-unveils-digital-policy-naya-pakistan/ PTI’s 14 Points for Digital Pakistan:
$2 billion set aside for National digital transformations & provision of different services to citizens through mobile.
Using technology to open government data to increase transparency
IT education of 50,000 students
Establishment of 120 new campuses to produce 100,000 technology graduates/year
Mathematics and Science teacher training and certification program
Five new major technology clusters (Special Economic Zones)
A focus will be on creating enabling environment for start-ups and entrepreneurs.
50,000 call center seats available on a turn-key basis
One window operation to register a new company
A global PR campaign involving expat community
Visa issuance on green passport for Businessmen and professionals
Simplification of processes for foreign ownership of companies
Public-Private Partnership on projects
Target will be set to increase the global ranking of Pakistan in ease of doing business
Pakistan 4th most popular country for freelancing: report
Pakistan is among the top five countries in the world when it comes to freelancing and generated a significant calculated amount of $0.5 billion entirely from freelancing.
Pakistan is ranked as the 4th most popular country for freelancing in the Online Labor Index published in 2017 by Oxford Internet Institute (OII) and is consistently ranked among the top destinations for Internet Communications and Technology (ICT) outsourcing as a result of the exponential growth of the IT sector. Pakistan has got the fourth position globally in the category of Software Development and Technology.
Talking to the media, a ministry official said, the calculated revenue is $0.5 billion but in reality, it is more than this amount. The framework for e-commerce is not implemented yet, and after the implementation of an official, state-backed framework, it would be channelised to contribute to the national exchequer.
He said many universities in Pakistan are offering software and IT degrees and due to demand of this field many individuals have chosen to opt for ever-growing field.
Many people work from home and earn a good amount. Many people in Pakistan manage to freelance with their regular jobs to make a good amount of money, he added.
He informed that the first, second and third positions are acquired by India, Bangladesh and United States respectively. The largest overall supplier of online labour according to the data, is the traditional outsourcing destination – India, which is home to 24 per cent of the workers observed. According to report, Pakistan is home to 9 per cent of total freelancers.
#Pakistan #Information #Technology #exports reached US$1,064,540, exceeding US$1 billion in Fiscal Year 2018, according to data from the State Bank of Pakistan. #Telecommunications #Software #computers http://www.sbp.org.pk/ecodata/index2.asp
Bengaluru pays the highest salaries in India: Study
Hardware & networking jobs fetch about Rs 15 lakh per an .. software jobs fetch about Rs 12 lakh, and consumer jobs Rs 9 lakh.
(One US $ is worth 71 Indian rupees)
#SoftBank's next big crisis may be brewing in #India. No investor has written bigger checks than SoftBank's Son in giving young #startups the financial firepower to out-compete their rivals while pumping up their valuations. #WeWork collapse has ended it. https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Cover-Story/Fallout-SoftBank-s-next-big-crisis-may-be-brewing-in-India
Overfunding and bloated valuations have destabilized the country's startups
In 2014, Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal, the founders of Delhi-based e-commerce company Snapdeal, boarded a plane to Tokyo. Their company had just struggled through a transition from a Groupon-like discount voucher seller to a full online retail marketplace, and had nearly failed -- but Bahl and Bansal had managed to turn it around. They brought in $850 million from major investors, including sovereign wealth fund Temasek Holdings, Ratan Tata, the head of Tata Group, and U.S. chipmaker Intel. EBay even approached Snapdeal with a proposal to acquire the business.
Instead, Bahl and Bansal flew to Japan to meet the global tech sector's kingmaker -- Masayoshi Son, the founder and CEO of SoftBank Group. Even though Snapdeal had pulled in hundreds of millions, investment flows into India were still just a trickle. Chinese giants Alibaba Group Holding and Tencent Holdings were yet to enter the market at scale, and there were few local funds investing in technology. SoftBank was just starting to seek out deals in India, in an early display of its now-familiar playbook: offering to inject vast sums of money, and driving valuations higher than any other investor could offer young entrepreneurs.
Warned that Son had a short attention span, Snapdeal's founders brought only 10 slides to accompany their presentation. They had got through just three when Son cut off their pitch. "I have heard enough," he told them. "I will give you $1 billion for 49% of your company."
The amount was far more than the pair sought, or could even use. Ultimately, the two sides agreed on an infusion of $650 million for more than 30% of the company. "It was Snapdeal's first rodeo with so much capital," says one insider.
SoftBank's Vision Fund, with nearly $100 billion of capital, has become perhaps the most powerful funder in global technology. (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)
Dozens of entrepreneurs all over the world have had a similar experience. No investor has been more obliging than SoftBank's Son in writing massive checks to young companies, giving them the financial firepower to out-compete their rivals while pumping up their valuations. And that same pattern has played out in India, where, until recently, there was virtually no domestic risk capital, making SoftBank the biggest game in town. "SoftBank did put India on the global map," says Vinish Kathuria, a Delhi-based venture capitalist.
Since then, SoftBank's Vision Fund, with nearly $100 billion of capital supplied by major sovereign wealth funds, tech companies and private investors, has become perhaps the most powerful funder in global technology. It has fueled a wave of disruptive companies, from ride-hailers Uber Technologies and Grab to office communication business Slack Technologies.
Now, the wheels are coming off. WeWork, the office rental company into which SoftBank had invested billions, announced in September that it would list in New York, seeking an extraordinary valuation of $47 billion. The company's prospectus revealed a business model and a highly unusual governance structure that rattled investors. Its valuation dwindled, and eventually the listing was pulled.
#TikTok’s Desi Version #MitronApp Popular in #India is a Copy of #Pakistan’s #TicTic App. Analysis of its source code reveals that #Mitron, which has ridden high on an anti-#China and anti-TikTok sentiment, was developed by a #Pakistani developer. https://www.thequint.com/tech-and-auto/mitron-app-indian-tik-tok-rebranded-from-pakistani-app-tictic-qboxus-anfroid-playstore
“Well, there is no problem with what the developer has done. He paid for it and got the script which is okay. But the problem is with people and Media referring to as Indian made app which is not the truth.”
Irfan Sheikh, Founder & CEO, QBoxus
The Pakistani company has raised two specific issues:
The real author of the app to be acknowledged and credited instead of attributing Shivank Agarwal as the creator of the app.
The absence of any original modifications to the purchased code. “The worst thing is that the developer even didn't bother to fix bugs and issues in the app and directly uploaded it on Play Store, which is really a shame,” he added.
The Quint has reached out to Mitron App for comments on the claims made by QBoxus along with details the publication has found. The story will be updated once Mitron responds.
Identical Login Screen
The login screen for both apps shares an identical schema as well. Both can be seen using “action_login.xml”
TicTic Strings Left Behind in Mitron’s Code
Further, a ‘change_log’ file present in the decompiled Mitron source code contains the string “com.dinosoftlabs.tictic” – which is the package name of the TicTic application developed and released by QBoxus.
However, there are some minor differences to be noted in the User Interface (UI).
The splash screen which welcomes the user to the app differs visually across both. Further, Mitron does not currently allow users to log in via Facebook, whereas TicTic does.
Apart from this, the application programming interface (API) for both applications are completely identical, which alone allows one to fully ascertain the claim that Mitron is indeed only a re-skinned iteration of TicTic.
TicTic’s Security Flaw Also In Mitron
Regardless, while re-skinned applications are not an entirely new phenomenon, they come with their own drawbacks.
For instance, a vulnerability that exists in the original codebase is likely to propagate to all other instances of the application and remain unfixed in each and every one of them.
This is also the case for TicTic and Mitron, as both applications share a common security flaw in the way through which the ‘follow account’ action is handled.
The flaw can allow a malicious actor to force other users to follow any given account, simply by tampering with a few parameters on the ‘follow user’ request.
Mitron Has A Different Backend Though
Although it would be correct to state that both applications share the same code base, it should be clarified that this does not mean the same backend is shared among both applications.
The Mitron app’s server and API are located on shopkiller.in, whereas the TicTic application communicates with bringthings.com. This means that both user data as well as uploaded videos for Mitron are stored on a separate server (an Amazon Web Services S3 instance to be specific) in contrast to TicTic.
This particular application was able to blur the lines between an individually developed platform versus a generic rip-off.
This is made evident by the number of people who have so far downloaded and installed the application (a number which is resting at 5 million at the time of publication).
In the context of Mitron, it’s meteoric rise in popularity can probably be attributed to it being touted as an “Indian version” of Tik Tok.
Pakistani IT Exports Cross $1 Billion Taking Clients From Indian Companies
According to data released by the State Bank of Pakistan, remittances under IT and IT-enabled services surged to $1.119 billion from July 2020 to January 2021 compared to $812 million recorded in the corresponding period of the last financial year, showing a handsome growth of 37 percent year-on-year
The growth in IT exports was driven by the increasing automation, and digitalized services in different countries after new ways of doing business emerged following the outbreak of COVID-19 worldwide.
Different foreign companies, mainly from the USA and EU markets, prefer placing their orders to Pakistani companies rather than Indian and the Philippines.
Barkan Saeed, Chairman Pakistan Software Houses Association (P@SHA) for IT and ITeS told Propakistani,
The growth in IT exports value was driven by the foreign clients moved from Indian companies to Pakistani companies in a post-COVID-19 scenario.
The government could double the exports from $2 billion per annum to $4 billion per annum by the next two years, with a concrete roadmap for the IT sector, which could not only fetch foreign exchange for the country, but it is a key sector that could provide the skilled job to millions of youngsters, Saeed further said.
Local IT companies and the government should work on a strategy to protect the growth of the IT sector on a sustainable basis for the future, he added.
Saeed demanded that IT should be declared a strategic sector with the same focus and treatment. The PM should resolve the pending issues of the sector immediately to unleash the true potential of the IT sector.
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