Following the launch of 3G and 4G technologies in Pakistan, the local IT and telecom market has been wide open to the world of business giants. Fresh statistics reveal that not only the international business groups have started turning up to the local IT and telecom sector with multiple working initiatives and joint ventures with local companies but also it has promoted the environment of entrepreneurial ecosystem. The 3G and 4G technologies, introduction of high speed broadband, entrepreneurial ecosystem and abundant availability of comparatively cheap outsourcing of services have provided a strong foundation the future of local IT market can be based on. India, which focused specifically on IT outsourcing sector over a decade back, has taken its annual software exports to $100 billion against only $2.8 billion of Pakistans software exports. The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) has once been the core of attraction of Indian software companies. Now as the IT market especially in Dubai, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan has created a huge space for international business groups following the availability of revolutionary services, companies and business groups have started also exploring working opportunities in these regions. Zameen.com, Pakistans real estate portal, last year had got a $20-million inflow from one of its current investors. The portal has undergone impressive growth over the last year, expanding its team from 90 employees at the start of 2014 to over 500 people across Pakistan currently. Similarly, Naseeb Networks International also created the other deal that highlighted the ties between Pakistan and the Middle East. It runs a recruitment marketplace called Rozee.pk, as well as the Saudi recruitment site Mihanit.com and in May announced their third round of investment of $6.5 million. The expansion of 4G services throughout the country combined with China flooding the Pakistani market with cheap devices is expected to lift smartphone penetration from its current 15-18 percent. Though all this has started attracting IT companies to the local market, the volume of initiatives is still at a nascent level. The government-funded technology incubator Plan9 since its inception in 2012 has supported 27 other separate support organizations. Now 20 of the 80 startups graduated from Plan9 have received funding from the local business community alone in addition to their expansion activities to other cities. However, funds paucity is still the main problem in the way of startups ecosystem promotion in the country. Now as the local IT market is equipped with all business promotion instruments and human capital is abundant on cheap rates, there is dire need to arrest this opportunity and grab more and more share in the international market.
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