About ten years ago Pakistan’s information technology industry had just begun and was rather premature, a chick just about to take flight. There were only 29 million people in the country who used the internet meaning that only eight in 100 people were internet subscribers. 100 million people were cellular subscribers, out of which only 14.4 million used the mobile internet.
In 2011, Pakistan had over 20 million internet users and is ranked as one of the top countries that are showcasing a high growth rate in internet penetration. Pakistan has overall the 27th largest population of internet users all around the world.
Before this new attention was given to the IT industry, business or entrepreneurship in areas regarding the IT industry was not very sought after by the people. People did not know much about technology and because of the recession in the economy of the country the risk was deemed to be too high. There were however certain successful start-ups such as Sofizar and Mindstorm studios, but again they were an exception to the entire stigma that surrounded the IT industry.
Now the IT industry is regarded as one of the most successful sectors of the Pakistan economy, even during economic regression. All the matters regarding or relating to the IT industry are regulated and monitored by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting of the Government of Pakistan. During the last decade the government has played a key role in encouraging and providing incentives to IT investors in the country. The government has also put its efforts to develop and information age in Pakistan. A national IT policy has also been formulated in this regard.
According to reports given by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific ( ESCAP), Pakistan has been immensely exposed to information technology in regard of e-commerce and e-governance:
Pakistan’s communication system is also reliable. This has now fully graduated into the email, Internet and IT culture perse. The country is fast exploring the brave new world of information technology and keenly assimilating the requirements of e-government and e-commerce. Information technology has opened a new business frontier for Pakistan. The government is assigning high priority to information technology both in terms of policy limelight and resource allocation.
United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.
Today the country has more than 2500 registered IT organizations and approximately 20,000 computer science students enter the market every year. The share of Pakistan’s global IT is 2.8 billion US dollars out of which 1.6 billion US dollars accounts for Pakistan’s exports of IT related services and softwares.
The demand grew for softwares and programs to be developed in local languages and so softwares such as InPage were developed in Pakistan that specifically assisted in creating pages in multiple local languages using local fonts and scripts.
Many Pakistani entrepreneurs and startups have on numerous occasions made Pakistan proud internationally. The most recent achievements gained by such companies and individuals were at APICTA event in Jakarta where Pakistani startups won 3 silver medals and 2 gold medals.
The representation made by these IT entrepreneurs at international events and global partnerships are creating a credible name for Pakistans It industry through the world. The government in a combined effort with the private sector now needs to provide more incentives and funds to the people and boast startups.