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Cheaper Chinese smartphones flood Pakistan, interior areas

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Despite a below-average mobile penetration in Pakistan, cheaper Chinese smartphones have flooded the country — especially its interior parts.

The initial video and photos of captured Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot Abhinandan Varthaman that the world saw on various social media platforms and created a ripple affect in the political establishments on both sides happened because of those cheap Chinese variants with the locals.

Today, Chinese players have captured 62 per cent of the Pakistan smartphone market — even higher than in India (55 per cent).

According to global market research firm Counterpoint Research, the overall mobile scene in the neighbourhood is still dismal and most of the users have no option but to survive on low Internet speeds.

“Mobile Internet Penetration is below average in Pakistan as compared to the rival countries in the region. Most of the users are still on basic voice or slow mobile internet speeds,” Tarun Pathak, Associate Director at Counterpoint Research, told .
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Zong (parent company China Mobile) is currently the largest network in Pakistan in terms of 4G network. Other telecom providers are Telenor, Jazz and Warid, apart from the state-run Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).

“Penetration of 3G/4G subscribers is still around 30 per cent in Pakistan, hence faster Internet is still not a service which everyone enjoys there,” Pathak noted.

While there is over 80 per cent teledensity, the telecom industry’s growth in Pakistan has particularly stagnated in the voice-based category.

“Device ecosystem is also driven by entry-level smartphones. Half of the smartphones sold in Pakistan are still below $100 (nearly Rs 7,000 in Indian rupee),” informed Pathak.

If we look at smartphone players, Samsung, Huawei, OPPO and Qmobile (Karachi-based consumer electronics firm) are the leading smartphone players.

As per the Counterpoint 2018 tracker, Samsung led the market in 2018 with a share of 22 per cent, followed by Huawei at 19 per cent, OPPO at 17 per cent and Qmobile at 15 per cent.

Motorola, Nokia, Apple and LG are other smartphone brands in Pakistan.

A report in Pakistan-based The Express Tribune last month mentioned that anxiety is growing among mobile service providers as the deadline for expiry of their operating licences is near.

“The government has delayed the procedure for the renewal of their licences by over a year at least. The delay may be a serious setback for cellular services and will adversely impact phone users,” the report said.

In 2004, Warid, Jazz, Zong and Telenor bought licences for 15 years. Licences of Telenor and Warid are going to expire in May this year while Zong’s licence will expire in October, said the report.

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Walmart chief seeks stable business environment from PM Modi

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New Delhi: Walmart chief executive Doug McMillon has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking certainty and predictability in India’s business environment, people familiar with the matter said.

McMillon also highlighted Walmart’s commitment to India, including investments to empower small and medium enterprises, global sourcing from the country and job creation. He also praised Modi for India’s improvement in the Ease of Doing Business Ranking.

PM Modi and the Walmart Chief Executive met on September 25 during the former’s visit to the US.

The letter comes at a time when a body of small traders, which has been accusing Flipkart and Amazon of “unfair business practices” and violation of FDI rules, has stepped up its opposition against the foreign-owned marketplaces, blaming predatory pricing by the two companies for a slump in the businesses of traditional retail during the ongoing Diwali season.

On Monday, the Confederation of All India Traders claimed that Amazon and Flipkart together generated total business worth Rs 19,000 crore in their four-day mega sales events earlier this month.

Last week, commerce minister Piyush Goyal said the government was probing Flipkart and Amazon for any predatory pricing.

Last year, Walmart India said it would invest about $500 million to open another 47 stores by 2022. Walmart India’s business is membership-based and counts more than one million members, the majority of whom are small resellers and kiranas (mom-and-pop stores). The retailer already sources a bulk of items from smallholder farmers and regional suppliers. It’s been in India since 2009.

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