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Searching for IT in Karachi

February 22, 2005. E-Commerce Times

By Anthony Mitchell

 

http://www.technewsworld.com/story/40583.html

 

As U.S. firms attempt to follow the market into an increasingly saturated India, Indian firms are looking to lower their costs by coming to Pakistan, which is 30 percent cheaper than India for IT work and has an underutilized talent pool of English speakers and computer science graduates.

Two motorcycles collide, Ben Hur style, spilling four lads out across the roadway, slick with gray water. They pick themselves up, brush off their clothes, pull fenders and other peripherals back into place, then speed away. Not one harsh word is exchanged. Nor is there a single helmet among the lot of them.

Welcome to the old Saddar market area of Karachi, Pakistan, where computers, mobile devices, and other electronics are sold. Business is booming here, with goods flying out of the stores like birds freed from a cage.

There is a hunt going on. Nearby in the same old downtown area on the following night, I spot two men attempting to climb over an iron fence. They are the first Westerners that I've seen outside a hotel in more than two weeks here. They are attempting to cross a busy street and have become stranded by heavy traffic. I wonder if they will starve.

Leading the Market

The hunt I'm on is to discover markets for information technology in Pakistan and to find software and call center firms that will perform well if provided with outsourcing contracts from U.S. clients.

As U.S. firms attempt to follow the market into an increasingly saturated India, Indian firms are looking to lower their costs by coming to Pakistan, which is 30 percent cheaper than India for IT work and has an underutilized talent pool of English speakers and computer science graduates.

These Indian firms are onto something. Why follow the market when you can lead it?

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