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Karachi Awakens

February 15, 2005. E-Commerce Times

By Anthony Mitchell




Megacities with populations larger than entire countries are changing the physical and economic landscape of the globe. Megacities have economic engines that are powering the future of the world. Megacities have larger markets than many developed countries.

The megacities are coming. They are the future. They are here now.


Karachi, Pakistan's, population of 14 million is augmented by an equal number of people in nearby satellite towns. The Karachi area has more people than Canada and an airport smaller than modest U.S. towns such as Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Indianapolis, Indiana, or Tallahassee, Florida.


Good Times


"These are the good times for Pakistan," said the Cathay Pacific manager in Los Angeles, who is originally from Karachi. Decades of neglect are being compensated (and in some cases overcompensated) by the government of President Pervez Musharraf. Investment is pouring in from countries in the Persian Gulf, from India, and especially from China.


China is building a massive port in a Karachi suburb that sits at the entrance to the Persian Gulf. China sees Pakistan as a means to expand its market presence throughout the region.

Only U.S. firms, burdened by preconceptions, are holding back. American firms are afraid to even market computer hardware and software to a rapidly expanding market that is flush with cash and ready to spend.


Indian IT firms are gradually moving in because their own software economy has experienced labor shortages and price increases. Pakistan is 30 percent cheaper than India for information technology outsourcing. According to Karachi-based Alt-Source Communications, Karachi alone has 300,000 English-speaking job seekers in the 18 to 35 year old range who are interested in and qualified for call center work.



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