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Smartphone giant to set up local manufacturing plant

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KARACHI:

One of the world’s largest mobile manufacturers will set up a handset manufacturing plant in Pakistan, announced Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood.

On his official Twitter handle on Tuesday, he cherished that the Make in Pakistan was bearing fruits as Xiaomi had partnered up with Airlink Communications to manufacture smartphones in Pakistan.

The production facility would be established at Quaid-e-Azam Industrial Estate, Lahore, he said adding that 2.5 to 3 million handsets will be produced per year.

“The production facility will become functional in January 2022 and it will create 3,000 direct and indirect jobs,” he remarked.

In comments to The Express Tribune, Tecno Pack Electronics Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Aamir Allawala said that Pakistan was among the top 10 handset markets in the world.

He cherished that Mobile Device Manufacturing Policy 2020 had begun bearing fruits.

Allawala highlighted that investment of global mobile brands in local manufacturing was nearly nil until June 2020 despite a huge domestic market.

Until that period, the duties and taxes on completely built units (CBU) mobile phones were kept low – at the same level as their parts and components, he added.

In July 2020, the government created a reasonable differential in duties and taxes between CBU and completely knocked down (CKD)/ semi-knocked down (SKD) mobile phones under the mobile device manufacturing policy, he said.

This encouraged almost all foreign brands to start local assembly of mobile phones with a plan of indigenisation of its parts, he added.

“Currently, Tecno, Infinix, Itel, Oppo, Vivo, Realme and Nokia are producing smartphones in Pakistan,” Allawala said, adding that Samsung would begin production from December 2021 and Xiaomi from early 2022.

“By January 2022, 90% of all mobile phones sold in Pakistan will be made in the country,” he said.

The next step will be localisation of parts and boost in smartphone exports and all companies are making efforts in this regard, he added.

Talking to The Express Tribune, information and communications technology (ICT) expert Parvez Iftikhar termed Dawood’s announcement great development provided that manufacturer sticks to smartphones only.

It would not only provide jobs and other benefits to the economy but also help in increasing 4G penetration in the country, which is a pre-requisite for 5G, he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 3rd, 2021.

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