ISLAMABAD – Google’s Head of Large Customer Marketing, South Asia, Lars Anthonisen has termed Pakistan as a place which is quickly becoming a “digital-first country”.
He wrote this in a blog post for Think with Google, a platform that hosts expert analysis for e-commerce and digital branding in the Asia-Pacific region.
“There’s a reason Pakistan is attracting interest from major foreign investors. With an economy powered by small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and a rapidly growing population of mobile users, the country is on track to produce one of the largest digital audiences in the world,” says the blog post.
Anthonisen has given five reasons for companies to consider expanding their digital campaigns into Pakistan.
“Pakistan has a population of more than 202 million people, which means there are lot of potential consumers coming online every day. And the country is even more urbanized than neighboring India, with nearly 40% of total households living in cities.”
“With a current GDP at $1,641 per capita, Pakistan is expected to be the fourth fastest growing economy globally through 2030. Driven largely by SMEs (more than 90% of all companies in Pakistan are SMEs), these smaller businesses contribute 40% to the country’s $305 billion GDP.”
Increasing smart phone users
“Currently, there are 59 million smartphone users in Pakistan, and more than 83% of those users are on Android devices. This number will likely grow quickly as smartphone prices have dropped over the last few years. Pakistan also has some of the cheapest data prices in the world, which is helping to grow mobile app usage. YouTube captures a huge chunk of smartphone users’ attention and is the most-used online video streaming platform among millennials.”
“Pakistan’s overall internet penetration stands at 22% with 44.6 million users. In spite of this, digital consumption in the country continues to grow quickly. YouTube watch time, for example, has seen over 60% growth over the last three years.”
“The Chinese-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is the largest Chinese investment in a foreign country (valued at $62 billion). One of the first CPEC projects is to lay 820 kilometers of fiber-optic cable, connecting more Pakistanis to the internet. This is in addition to ongoing investments in 3G and 4G network expansions from China Mobile — the company has already announced plans to invest another $225 million in 4G expansion (bringing its total investment to $2.4 billion).”
Anthonisen advises businesses to leave a mark on Pakistan by reaching out to the SME audience to help them scale.