TECNO Presents ‘Make in Pakistan’ Documentary Highlighting the Journey of Pakistan’s Mobile Industry

World Telecommunication and Information Society Day is celebrated every year on 17th May. Today we commend the progress of our smartphone industry and its rapid growth over the last decades.

Our local brands have been raising awareness about the possibilities that the use of the Internet and other ICT can bring positive and productive changes to societies and economies by bridging the digital divide. This celebration also encourages the development and use of these technologies to foster global communication and cooperation.

Initially, mobile phones were considered a luxury. However, over the past decade, their usage has undergone a tremendous shift. As technology has advanced and awareness has grown, mobile phones have become essential tools, driving progress and enabling people to excel in various fields. This shift reflects a move toward a more technologically adept and informed generation.

Until around 2019, Pakistan primarily relied on importing mobile phones, which significantly influenced the cost and accessibility of these devices. This reliance on imports made mobile phones more expensive and led to public reluctance to purchase them or explore their potential benefits. However, in recent years, Pakistan’s mobile phone landscape has undergone a significant transformation, reducing dependency on imports and making mobile technology more accessible to the population through local manufacturing.

The implementation of new government policies promoting local assembly, combined with the growing demand for affordable phones and the potential to attract foreign investment, has driven the transition from imports to domestic manufacturing. Moreover, local manufacturing has also provided some insulation from currency exchange volatilities. This shift is still evolving, with challenges like import taxes and credit access persisting. Nevertheless, with ambitious export goals, Pakistan’s domestic mobile phone industry appears set for further growth.

Currently, 35 mobile manufacturing companies are operating in Pakistan, reflecting the surge in demand for locally produced phones over the past decade. Till date, these companies have manufactured 85 million mobile phones and exported around 150,000 units.

The annual demand for mobile phones in Pakistan is approximately 25 million units. This substantial demand and production capacity highlight a significant shift towards digitalization in Pakistan, with more people embracing digital learning through mobile devices.

A key advantage of moving towards domestic production of phones is that Pakistani manufacturers understand the local market dynamics and effectively cater to the population’s needs, including affordability, improved after-sales service, instant availability of the latest models, and the creation of thousands of jobs.

Many prominent brands have started local manufacturing while adhering to international standards. Notably, TECNO became the first premium phone brand to open a factory in Pakistan. This move has not only boosted buyer confidence in locally manufactured products but has also enhanced their sense of credibility and reliability.

The assembly and manufacturing process demands meticulous attention to detail, and it has been proven that women excel in these tasks. TECNO has also shattered the myth that women cannot work in production, especially in high-tech jobs. By employing a female workforce that comprises 30-40% of their factory staff, the brand has also played an important role in promoting gender diversity in the industry, setting a standard for other companies to follow.

TECNO has recently produced a documentary titled “Make in Pakistan” to raise awareness about the importance of mobile phone technology in the country’s rapidly growing smartphone industry. This documentary highlights the significant impact of local phone manufacturing, which not only boosts the economy but also attracts foreign direct investment and enhances export potential.

The expansion of the mobile phone industry can stimulate direct foreign investment. Currently, regional mobile phone adoption stands at 78 percent, whereas Pakistan lags behind at 52 percent. Economists suggest that for every 10 percent increase in mobile broadband adoption, there is a corresponding 2.5 percent increase in GDP. By enhancing this adoption rate, our economy can undergo transformation, thereby driving up the demand for mobile phones.

Taking Vietnam as an example, it annually exports smartphones worth  billion dollars. With an enabling environment from the government , Pakistan’s smartphone industry could similarly attract foreign investments and boost the export of its products.

Looking ahead, Pakistan’s domestic phone industry can thrive through robust public-private collaboration. The government can incentivize manufacturers with tax breaks and infrastructure development, while also investing in workforce training. International brands can contribute by transferring technology and potentially partnering with local companies. Joint marketing campaigns and efforts to standardize quality can build consumer trust.

Collaborative innovation hubs and consumer awareness initiatives can further solidify the industry. This united effort holds the potential to create a thriving ecosystem for Pakistani-made phones, boosting the economy and national pride.

This ecosystem thrives on a continuous cycle. As the industry grows, it attracts more investment, creates jobs, and fosters further innovation. This can lead to a more competitive domestic market, potentially leading to exports and propelling Pakistan’s mobile phone industry onto the global stage.

If such reforms are implemented, the coming year could see significant benefits for the promotion of locally manufactured phones.

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