Pakistan has exported its first-ever shipment of smartphones.
The consignment of 5,500 sets of ‘Made in Pakistan’ 4G smartphones, manufactured by Inovi Telecom, was sent to the UAE on Friday, Dawn News reported on Sunday.
However, the local manufacturers of mobile phone sets have stressed the need for an export supportive policy, allowing Pakistan to take on competitors in the Middle East region.
The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority on Saturday congratulated the company for the achievement. “This is the result of concerted efforts for the development of the mobile device manufacturing ecosystem in the country,” it said.
Inovi was issued authorisation for mobile device manufacturing in April and it has managed to fulfil its first export order within four months.
Chief Executive Zeeshan Mian Noor said the company’s main target was to penetrate low-end markets of the Middle East, including Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan.
“We are manufacturing Chinese brands and there are a large number of expat workers in Gulf countries,” he said, adding high-end consumers in the Gulf prefer top brands.
Noor said Iraqis, Iranians and Afghans also preferred mobile sets that cost less than $100 each.
IT and Telecom Minister Syed Amin Ul Haque told Dawn that “favourable” government policies have helped achieve the milestone of transforming Pakistan from a net mobile phone importer to an exporter.
He added that a conducive environment was being provided to local mobile device manufacturing companies and the smuggling of mobile phones has been stopped through Device Identification Registration and Blocking System.
The minister added that the local manufacturers would eventually start moving towards assembling high-end phones after production of spare parts for mobile sets starts next year.
However, a senior player in the field has said that the government’s approach towards enhancing export markets was slow.
Transsion Tecno Electronics CEO Amir Allahwala said that overall exports of mobile sets by China is over $140 billion, but that was only due to low labour cost, which has now increased significantly.
“The Chinese are moving towards high-tech items and shifting their mobile set manufacturing to countries like India, Vietnam, Indonesia and Bangladesh,” he said.
He added that labour cost was very high in Vietnam and Indonesia and Chinese businesses were not expanding in India any more due to political reasons, according to Dawn.
“Now Pakistan is the only player left to compete with Bangladesh, but is the government ready to provide the same level of facilities to us too?” he asked. “We have proved that investors can meet the targets but the future of mobile set exports depends on the government policies.”