Local Manufacturing in IT Industry

made_in_pakistanRecently, the Aakash tablet was launched in India with the help of the Indian Government. It’s currently the cheapest tablet in the world and it’s available at reduced rates to students and academic institutions.

It isn’t without its faults but the question is why we can’t come up with such a product ourselves? Children in rural areas could benefit tremendously from such a product. So why doesn’t anyone step up?

The current situation in the country is bad, inflation is rising and the spending power of the people is on the decline. This furthers the importance of State assisted production which facilitates and caters the demands of people with low-price and high quality products.

Let’s stop looking over foreign manufacturers to set up their plans on our soil, they have their reasons for not hitting Pakistan – whatever they are, why can’t we do it ourselves? Maybe we can start with small projects that definitely mature in next few years. We should start something at least.

But there is no initiative from the government on this front. Governments like India recognize that technology is crucial in order for a country to move forward. The crowning achievement of the Aakash tablet in my opinion isn’t just the price; it is that the entire production takes place in India. And with 3 lakh orders already placed, it brings jobs into the country. Its time for our government should take cues from the neighbor.

Just one thing they could do is recognize that there are a huge number of students who are currently enrolled in technical degrees like engineering and the job market is in a slump. Once they graduate, they’re going to have a pretty tough time. The enthusiasm of the youth is what we need.

The government should introduce policies and programs to mentor and help young entrepreneurs amongst these graduates instead of letting them get embittered. Because these people are the ones who are more equipped to innovate and come up with radical ideas and products. If there’s one thing we know, it’s that our students are capable of holding their own against anyone. Financially backing innovative ideas through schemes would benefit everybody.

No, National Research and Development Fund isn’t enough. The scope of fund and how it is being used, rather I would say being sabotaged by a group of few, it isn’t providing sufficient platforms that will enable us with product manufacturing ability.

I know a few people who came up with great ideas for products but ideas were all they remained. When I enquired as to why they didn’t convert their ideas into products, they said it wasn’t cost effective.

In the current economic climate, loans are hard to get and then there’s always the risk when undertaking a venture that it might not payoff. Also, with people preferring Chinese alternatives if their budget is low and going for more reputable brands if they can afford them, they were priced out. They couldn’t afford to sell their products as cheap as the Chinese ones and if their prices were higher, people would just choose a reputable brand.

The reason is because the middle class in the true sense of the expression doesn’t exist anymore. The lower classes have other priorities and the upper class doesn’t have an issue with getting things no matter what the price.

The consumers aren’t doing themselves any favors either. Most of the stuff that’s locally produced; lets take computer peripherals for example, are of flimsy quality. An average customer would rather pay 300 for a substandard keyboard which would last 4 months and buy a new one when its malfunctions rather than buy one that costs 600 even if it’s advertised to last for a year with warranty.

So if the lower quality keyboards are giving a local manufacturer more profit, they won’t improve quality since there is a “kam chal raha hai to chalai jao” kind of attitude prevalent in the country. Even if a company comes up with a good product, its popularity remains local. Product oriented companies don’t tend to market their products for a national audience and that’s a thing they have to consider if they want to make it big.

When a company starts, of course they try to minimize costs while maximizing revenue. It might just be cheaper for them to import things rather than go for a local supplier. But in a job climate like ours we need to keep jobs in Pakistan and if some encouragement to do so is needed then the government needs to step in.

Vendors need to promote local products and local manufacturing companies need to improve their products to an extent that customers are compelled to buy them. The journey for a good local manufacturing industry in IT industry is in no ways an easy one. But that doesn’t mean the journey shouldn’t be undertaken.

Talal is a Director and the Editor in Chief at ProPakistani.


  • Malik Sajjad

    I Agree with You Talal Bhai.
    I think there should be Forum of Youth to post there Ideas and Discuss on them.
    If it is has a value Finance should be collected by forum Users as they can afford.
    R u agree !

  • a khan

    Government has nothing to do with this. Akaash will end up exactly where the famed “100 dollar laptop” ended, ie no where. these programmes are either dreamed up by people who don’t understand the cost structures or worst still, by those who want to sip in international and local NGO/ development/ charity funds.
    This is an arena for entrepreneurs. its the question of matching an idea with investor and management.

    Here is a suggestion. Engadget runs a program called “insert coin”. propakistani can do the same. Invite ideas for products. evaluate them using a group of professionals (a lot of them visit this site, get together a group). The most feasible idea should then be patented and then propakistani can invite investment into the idea. “Insert coin” works by booking pre-orders and collecting money enough for start-up. If enough money is collected business starts – if not money is returned. Propakistani can also invite investment into the business.

    Yes its complicated, yes it needs planning and effort – but then this will work and blaming government would not.

  • anas saleem

    Lol boiii

    i guess yu r nt aware that Pakistan is best friends with china and thats the reason local manufacturing is getting destroyed if we want our nation to get back on its feet then stop imports from china

  • Copper

    Aakash is designed and developed by UK firm. Although this doesn’t deny the fact Indians are way ahead

  • Xahid

    I don’t care about the rest of your post or idea, but where did you get the idea that “100 dollar laptop” is a failure project ??? its a Super Succeed project for whole around the World, if you don’t know about stuff, its better to keep mouth shut otherwise you’re just embarrassing yourself by showing your ignorance, look at the Project how many countries are adopting it, including Pakistan and India! and its keep getting better …

    • a khan

      100 dollar laptop. later renamed “one laptop per child” never completely materialized commercially. Only time it was sold was for some 200 dollars in 2008. Some 150,000 units were manufactured/ distributed against a target of 150 million. Project is all but shut now. here is a fascinating report on lessons learnt by Dr. Shah.

      http://www.bu.edu/writingprogram/journal/issue-3/shah/

      I am disappointed by your condescending tone though – i can be wrong and would love to be corrected but i see no reason for you to be rude to me or anyone else trying to have a meaningful discussion.

  • I just know that Pakistan made quit few things but what ever Pakistan made or build it is World recognized and best quality :)

    ya or bat ha k china ka mall bht aam hogya ha but Pakistani cheez achi ha agr wo wai quality sa bani ha

  • Karim Javed

    Yaar there are students in NED University who can create Graphic Cards & Other Computer related accessories. The only difference in that product and branded product is warranty and guarantee but that student will definitely give you his product in 50 percent less prices or may be more less.

  • Aman Tech Lover

    you are all right. but money matters everywhere no one want to serve country and public in return of just some claps. very sorry to say money is the only motivation factor now a days surly we can make everything but their must be support in return. like google supporting young entrepreneurs in USA and some other countries. here people have stoped updating their precious blogs and websites after adsense ban. no motivation no work.