Pakistan's Digital Gig Economy Growth Among World's Fastest

Pakistan's digital gig economy growth is the fastest in Asia and fourth fastest in the world, according to digital payments platform Payoneer.

Gig Economy Growth in Q2/2019. Source: Payoneer
United States led gig economy growth of 78% followed by the United Kingdom 59%, Brazil 48%, Pakistan 47% and Ukraine 36%. Asia growth was led by Pakistan followed by Philippines (35%) , India  (29%) and Bangladesh (27%).

The rapid gig economy expansion of 47% in Pakistan  was fueled by several factors including the country's very young population 70% of which is under 30 years of age coupled with improvements in science and technical education and expansion of high-speed broadband access.  Pakistani freelancers under the age of 35 generated 77% of the revenue in second quarter of 2019.

Growth in Freelance Work. Source: Payoneer

Mohsin Muzaffar, head of business development at Payoneer in Pakistan, has said as follows: "Government investment in enhancing digital skills has helped create a skilled freelancer workforce while blanket 4G coverage across Pakistan has given freelancers unprecedented access to
international jobs".

Global Freelance Revenue By Age. Source: Payoneer. 


In Q2/2019, Asia cemented its status as a freelancer hub.  Pakistan, Bangladesh and India, Philippines made it to the  top 10 list, collectively recording 238% increase from Q2/2018.


Online Labor Index. Source: Oxford Internet Institute

As of 2017, Pakistan freelancers ranked fourth in the world and accounted for 8.5% of the global online workforce, according to Online Labor Index compiled by Oxford Internet Institute. India led with 24% share followed by Bangladesh 16%, US 12%, Pakistan 8.5% and Philippines 6.5%.

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Comments

Riaz Haq said…
#China to start 27 new projects in #Pakistan under second phase of #CPEC | ThePrint

https://theprint.in/world/china-to-start-27-new-projects-in-pakistan-under-second-phase-of-cpec/284628/

China plans to launch 27 new projects in Pakistan under the second phase of the USD 60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) this year, a media report on Friday quoted a senior Chinese diplomat as saying.

The ambitious CPEC links China’s Kashgar city in Xinjiang province with Pakistan’s Gwadar port in Baluchistan through a network of roads, railways and highways.

“There will be 27 new projects in the second phase of the CPEC,” said Consul General of China in Karachi, Wang Yu during a meeting organised by the Karachi Council on Foreign Relations on Thursday.

Following the signing of the memorandum of understanding between China and Pakistan for the second phase of CPEC earlier this year, work on these 27 new projects was expected to begin by the end of the year, the Dawn newspaper quoted Wang as saying.

“Agriculture, education, vocational training, industry, increase in water supply, etc, are all part of our plans for the next phase,” he said.

Replying to a question about investment from China, he said the last two to three months had seen more Chinese investors coming to Pakistan.

“They are eager to invest here but they also need to know that the investments they make are sound and that they will also earn money here and for this there is a need for a fine transport system for the transportation of goods, new airports, etc.

“We are here for business and trade, but we are not in a decision-making position,” he said.

Responding to a question about security, Wang said there was no economic development without security.

Education and employment is also affected by a lack of security, he said.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan's NUST's #Science and #Technology Park now open for business. It has 3 buildings with a combined covered area of over 120,000 square feet surrounded by some of country's top #universities, #businesses and #industries. #Education #startup https://www.thenews.com.pk/latest/513408-nusts-science-and-technology-park-now-open-for-business

Science and Technology Park, developed by National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) in Islamabad, has opened doors to its first resident companies.

Fully university hosted and integrated across a 50-acre site, the park aims to enhance and increase research and development, promote linkages between higher education institutes, R&D centres and international industries; and capitalize on their strengths and abilities to create a knowledge-based multi-sector cluster in Pakistan.

A self-funded project, NSTP currently offers three buildings with a combined covered area of over 120,000 square feet surrounded by some of country's top universities, businesses and industries.

Over 70% of all S&T research work in Pakistan is conducted within a 30-mile radius of the park, which will focus on Edtech, Agritech, Fintech, Autotech, Healthtech, Deftech, Energytech and Smartech, each with its corresponding educational establishment nearby.

Multinational anchor companies are the driving force behind these key sectors and are provided with a distinctive space and opportunities connect with other tenants of the park and the university, which include innovative tech-based SMEs and startups both local and international.

These growing companies are offered subsidized or free work space, free training and mentorships, and funding opportunities through the NSTP Angel Investment Network.

The park already has strong international links via participation in the China Pakistan Economic Corridor( CPEC) , and a partnership with the China Pakistan Technology Transfer Centre which seeks to create innovation and investment from many companies located along the corridor.

It also benefits from a Special Economic Zone status, enabling residents to import critical infrastructure and machinery free of taxes.

Startups, high-tech SMEs, innovation centres of large multinationals and corporations, and business innovation hubs can apply for tenancy.
Riaz Haq said…
#Digital #Pakistan: Increasing digitization and #internet accessibility make Pakistan's e-commerce market one of the fastest growing in the world. Size of #ecommerce market is up by 92% to 99.3 billion rupees ($640.3 million) during the fiscal year 2017-18 http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1163302.shtml#.XXBF_novZYI.twitter

The number of registered e-commerce merchants was 496 in the first quarter of the fiscal year 2017-18, reaching nearly 1,100 by year end, and was over 1,200 in the first quarter of 2018-19, showing an exponential growth in e-commerce activities in the country.

Pakistan has e-commerce companies in almost every major sector from retail and ride-hailing to property and car purchasing. Benefits such as lower transaction costs, ease of selection of various products while sitting at home, wider selection range, opportunity for making informed purchase decisions based on online reviews and on-time delivery process are the main sources of attraction for consumers, paving the way for the industry to flourish.

Leading online businesses in Pakistan in retail are Daraz, Yayvo and HumMart, whereas ride-hailing services have been overtaken mostly by the global and regional giants Uber and Careem.

Additionally, PakWheels and Zameen are the largest online marketplaces for car and property shoppers and sellers in Pakistan. Among food delivery service providers, FoodPanda is most popular.

The industry has not only helped major players in expanding their businesses, it is also an effective tool for small- and medium-sized enterprises due to low costs and increased accessibility of sellers to customers.

In its efforts to increase the growth and development of the industry, the federal government has recently framed a draft e-commerce policy aimed at achieving higher export growth through enhanced activities from e-commerce platforms, promoting small e-businesses and creating employment opportunities.

The main goal of the policy is to augment the e-commerce industry's growth to make it one of the key drivers of Pakistan's economy.

Though data shows a steady rise in digital transactions and the number of registered vendors, the country's successful e-commerce entrepreneurs believe that Pakistan can learn much from China to further boost the industry, which is still in its infancy, as the latter has an immense knowledge base, experience and advanced technology in this field.

In a conversation with the Xinhua News Agency, Adam Dawood, head of Yayvo, one of Pakistan's largest online retailers, said that China is the world's biggest e-commerce market with annual online sales worth hundreds of billions of dollars.

As a neighboring country, China is eyeing the huge untapped potential in Pakistan, with Chinese e-commerce player AliExpress, part of tech giant Alibaba, recently acquiring Daraz.

"Apart from investment in Pakistan, China has such a big market for products that we could increase our product assortment overnight," Dawood said, adding that there is a lot of learning required in terms of product-market fit, legislation, and route to market that would help Pakistan increase not just the online shopping base, but also the internet penetration rate.

Talking about the challenges the e-commerce industry is facing, Dawood said that Pakistan needs to focus on optimizing overall service delivery and customer experience aspects.

"Our logistics and payments systems need to evolve to be better suited; it behooves the government to pass legislations and cooperate and collaborate with regional players including China to further support and actively promote the digital businesses."

Pakistan needs to encourage Chinese enterprises to explore opportunities in the Pakistani e-commerce industry and join with local start-ups for new business ventures, said Shehryar Hydri, secretary general of the Pakistan Software Houses Association, a trade body promoting and developing software and services industry in Pakistan.
Riaz Haq said…
Leading #Pakistani Bank Partners With #Ripple to Launch #Digital #Payments Solution. Faysal Bank Limited (FBL) has launched a digital payments solution through a partnership with #US-based Ripple, a #blockchain-based money transfer platform. #fintech
https://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2019/09/151318-leading-pakistani-bank-partners-ripple-to-launch-digital-payments-solution/

FBL is one of Pakistan’s largest commercial banks with over 220 branches nationwide and assets totaling $1.5 billion.

Announced on September 6, 2019, FBL’s partnership with Ripple was commemorated by a meeting in Karachi, Pakistan’s leading industrial and financial center. The business meeting was attended by Faysal Bank’s president Yousaf Hussain.

FBL, an Islamic private bank, has joined more than 200 financial institutions and payment providers that are using RippleNet, a decentralized global payments network for conducting fast and cost-effective cross-border transactions.

The leading Pakistani bank has reportedly been working on various initiatives aimed at supporting the development of a digital economy. FBL notably became the first major private Pakistani bank to introduce a virtual payment card in Pakistan in 2017.

FBL recently sponsored a one-day summit focused on electronic payments in Karachi, in order to spread “mass awareness about digital money.”

Pakistan’s regulatory authorities have not drafted guidelines for transactions involving cryptocurrencies. In 2018, the country’s central bank, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), ordered all local financial institutions to suspend services being offered to individuals and firms dealing in Bitcoin and other digital assets.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan FBR Chief Zaidi: "The #trade deficit has been reduced by 35% and #fiscal #deficit by 36% in the first quarter of this year." Target for non-tax revenue for the current year was Rs 1,200 billion, but expect to collect Rs 1,600 billion #tax #budget https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/world/marked-decrease-in-pakistans-trade-and-fiscal-deficits-finance-advisor-4527911.html

Advisor to Pakistan prime minster on Finance Abdul Hafeez Sheikh on October 12 said the country's economic health was improving with the government tackling the twin problems of fiscal and trade deficits.

Speaking to media persons here along with Chairman of Federal Bureau of Revenue Shabbar Zaidi, Sheikh said, "The trade deficit has been reduced by 35 percent and fiscal deficit by 36 percent in the first quarter of this year."



Sheikh said there was a marked improvement in non-tax revenue collection in comparison to the previous fiscal.

"We have collected Rs 406 billion in non-tax revenue, a 140 percent increase over the previous year," he said.

The advisor said the Pakistani rupee had stabilised and net portfolio investment had increased by $340 million after three years.

He said the good health of the portfolio investments was visible in the stock market rising from 28,000 points level in August to 34,000 points recently.

Sheikh said exports were also picking up due to government assistance.

Responding to a question, FBR Chairman Zaidi said dialogue with the trading community was progressing positively and soon all issues of traders would be resolved.

Zaidi said the UAE government has agreed to provide details of properties owned by Pakistanis there, which is expected to help net black money.

Pakistan's economy was in bad shape when the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government came to power in August 2018.


Riaz Haq said…
Tower sharing termed essential to meet #Pakistan's growing demand for #data. Four telecom operators in the country have around 34,000 towers...Advent of #4G and #5G will drive tower requirement for 17,000 more towers by 2022. #Mobile #telecom #broadband https://www.dawn.com/news/1514554



“Data consumption is forecast to increase by as much as seven times between 2018 and 2022, so tower requirements will increase too. The need of the hour is to adopt a more collaborative approach by all telecom companies to be successful in the 5G era,” he (Endotco manager) said.

With future investment plan of $100 million, the Malaysia-based Edotco Group offered telecom operators to provide shared network of mobile towers for better services to the customers in Pakistan, he said.

European countries were following the model of shared network of mobile operators to provide better services to the consumers. It would also result in saving of multi-billion dollars that were being spent on installing parallel towers by different companies.

Mr Koralage said that the company had already invested $200 million to set up mobile towers.

“To shift from 3G to 4G, there needed to be an increase in the number of sites. If each operator has their own site and tower then it will result in overcrowding of towers and therefore telcos have to adopt modern concepts being introduced by tower companies,” he said.

To fulfil the Digital Pakistan agenda of the government and meet the growing demand for data transfer, tower sharing will become essential as it is followed by other advanced countries, he added.

The Edotco official added that Pakistan still lagged behind in the digitisation race as other countries have made robust progress in the last five years. In 2018, the 4G penetration rate in Malaysia was 55pc whereas the 4G population coverage has not even crossed 50pc in Pakistan in 2019.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan eyes #ecommerce for #economic growth. Pakistan's service sector #exports (#freelance) are around $5 billion. Opportunities for #startups and #SMEs (98% of all biz) thu #digitization and e-commerce, #service exports can be enhanced. #payments http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-01/14/c_138704624.htm

Abdul Razak Dawood, advisor to Pakistani prime minister on commerce, textile, industry and production, and investment, said on Monday that the special focus of the government on e-commerce policy will benefit the country, particularly giving a quantum jump to its exports.

Addressing a workshop here on e-commerce, the advisor said that in line with the government's vision of "Digital Pakistan", many lacunas in the procedural framework will be fixed.

"The moment we start minimizing the interaction between people with everything working online, then corruption will go down, inefficiency will go down and we will be able to move in a much, much faster way," he said.

Currently, Pakistan's services sector exports are around five billion U.S. dollars, said Dawood, adding that prioritizing opportunities for the startups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through the policy of digitization and e-commerce, service exports could be enhanced to a great extent.

According to a report about the e-commerce policy framework of Pakistan released by the country's commerce ministry in September 2019, there are over 3.2 million SME units in Pakistan, accounting for 98 percent of all the enterprises, and the SMEs employ "nearly 78 percent of the non-agriculture labor force in Pakistan and contributes more than 30 percent" to the overall gross domestic product (GDP).

"E-commerce is an opportunity to bring SMEs in the mainstream and connect them with international markets through global e-commerce platforms as well as Pakistani online market places," the report added.

Talking to Xinhua, Badar Khushnood, a member of the Pakistani software houses association P@SHA, said that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is providing a great opportunity to Pakistan to learn and collaborate with Chinese tech giants like Tencent and Alibaba to tap its e-commerce potential.

Khushnood is of the view that companies like Alibaba, Uber and Careem have conducted B2C business in the country, and the business can be further expanded within the B2B framework as well.

According to a report released by the website Export.gov which is managed by the U.S. Department of Commerce, it is estimated that Pakistan has around 32 million Facebook users, and one of the highest rates of smartphone penetration in South Asia at nearly 34 percent. This makes it a potential market for e-commerce services and businesses.

Jawaid Ghani, professor of strategy and marketing research at Karachi School of Business and Leadership, told Xinhua that e-commerce facilitates make transaction easier, which is essential for foreign direct investment.

To increase exports, Pakistan has to introduce new e-commerce avenues as this would increase economic activity across all levels including B2B, B2C and C2C, he said.

The Export.gov report also noted that a large component of Pakistan's economy is informal and this is mainly because the majority of transactions are conducted in cash, except for those that are very large and require a bank draft or pay order. The majority of the local companies especially the SMEs are undocumented and therefore out of the tax net.

Ghani said that e-commerce and digital payment services would ensure transparency in transaction along with bringing the documentation of the undocumented transfer of money.

The McKinsey Global Institute report estimated that Pakistan can have an increase of a cumulative seven percentage points in its GDP along with the generation of around four million new jobs during 2016-2025 through utilizing digital financial services alone.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan - eCommerce
https://www.export.gov/article?id=Pakistan-eCommerce
Describes how widely e-commerce is used, the primary sectors that sell through e-commerce, and how much product/service in each sector is sold through e-commerce versus brick-and-mortar retail. Includes what a company needs to know to take advantages of e-commerce in the local market and reputable, prominent B2B websites.Last Published: 7/10/2019

Overview
Pakistan is still largely a cash-based, informal economy. The majority of transactions are conducted in cash, except for those that are very large and require a bank draft or pay order. Several studies suggest that up to 60 percent of the economy is informal, with the majority of local companies, particularly SMEs, undocumented and outside the tax net.
A number of government departments have started to offer services via the Internet. In the private sector, four Pakistani airlines now offer e-ticketing and almost all local banks offer online banking services. This segment of the economy is expected to grow steadily as there are approximately 44.6 million Internet subscribers in Pakistan and this figure is expected double during the next five years.
There are also more than 32 million Facebook users in Pakistan and several local companies now use social media to promote their products and services. Pakistan has one of the highest rates of smartphone penetration in South Asia at nearly 34 percent, and mobile banking is an area with some promise.

Current Market Trends
The e-commerce sector has focused mainly on consumer products. Online customers in Pakistan search for and purchase consumer electronics and mobile phones, employment queries, online education and counseling, sale/purchase and information gathering about vehicles, computers and accessories, financial services, laptops and notebooks, motor vehicles by brand, test preparation and tutoring, and apparel and accessories. Consumer choices and the records they generate also produce a trove of data.

eCommerce Services
There are no banned browsers in Pakistan. Google Chrome is the most popular browser with 56 percent of total visitors, followed by Microsoft Internet Explorer with 21 percent. The remaining 23 percent of searches are through Android, Safari, Opera, Opera Mini, UC Browser, Safariand Maxthon respectively. Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Android account for the longest session durations.

Popular eCommerce Sites
Some leading eCommerce websites in Pakistan are;

OLX
daraz.pk
PakWheels
Zameen
Kaymu
Shophive
Homeshopping
Online Payment
According to reports, 95 percent of e-companies get payments for their online orders by cash-on-delivery. This increases the liquidity requirements for e-commerce companies and also forces them to have dedicated teams that manage cash receipts for the company, thereby raising operational costs. The larger players in the e-commerce space have started to utilize digital payments, and are optimistic that the industry will come together to coax consumers into moving away from cash-on-delivery to online payments. Digital payments also represent a hurdle for Pakistan’s e-commerce sector. While a number of products like EasyPaisa, JazzCash, and uPaisa – which are mobile banks - are available today, none of them has high market penetration. This, coupled with the fact that only 24 percent of the country’s population has a bank account, vastly raises the cost of doing business for e-commerce companies.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan - eCommerce
https://www.export.gov/article?id=Pakistan-eCommerce
Describes how widely e-commerce is used, the primary sectors that sell through e-commerce, and how much product/service in each sector is sold through e-commerce versus brick-and-mortar retail. Includes what a company needs to know to take advantages of e-commerce in the local market and reputable, prominent B2B websites.Last Published: 7/10/2019

-------------------

Mobile eCommerce
With the introduction of 3G/4G services, internet penetration has risen rapidly. Internet subscriber growth in Pakistan is averaging over 22 percent per year and total subscribers crossed the 44.6 million mark in 2018. Cheap smartphones, low cost of 3G/4G services and a consumer-goods obsessed middle class has meant that Pakistan’s e-commerce sector is “mobile first”: some e-commerce start-ups claim that over 75 percent of their total business is online.

Major Buying Holidays
E-commerce entrepreneurs enjoy heavy traffic on Pakistani holidays and event season such as Eid-ul-Fitr (June), Eid-ul-Adha (September), Black Friday, New Year and Wedding Season (October through April). Major sporting events can also drive purchases of related equipment and apparel.

Social Media
The introduction of mobile broadband coupled with affordable smartphones has driven the social media use and the popularity of Facebook, Twitter, Skype and Instagram. Facebook leads social media with more than three billion connections per day and more than 17.2 million user accounts. Twitter is also fast becoming the preferred social media portal with more than 280 million connections per day. Google, You Tube and Instagram are also popular.

Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.

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