China emerges as key investor in Pakistan’s digital sector

BEIJING:“China has emerged as a key investor in Pakistan’s digital sector, with numerous successful collaborations and partnerships contributing to the country’s digital growth. We look forward to China taking the lead in digital investments in Pakistan,” highlighted Zulfiqar Ali, Director General of Pakistan Regulatory Moderation Initiative, Board of Investment (BOI).

On a panel discussion session of the UN Asia-Pacific Innovation Forum during the 23rd China International Fair for Investment and Trade (CIFIT) held from 8 Sept to 11 Sept, Zulfiqar Ali outlined Pakistan’s national strategies for digital development and highlighted the critical role of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country’s digital transformation.

As the world embraces the digital age, Pakistan is actively pursuing the path of digitalization and making substantial efforts to transform its economy and society. Recognizing the importance of digital development, Pakistan has formulated comprehensive strategies and policies to harness the potential of technology.

These efforts encompass various sectors, including infrastructure, education, governance and entrepreneurship, with the aim of leveraging technology to drive economic growth and improve the quality of life for its people.

The director general noted that Pakistan has launched a Digital Economy Enhancement Project worth $78 million, aiming at enhancing the government’s capacity for digitally-enabled public service delivery for citizens and businesses. One of the key components of the initiative is the Pakistan Business Portal, which is a one-stop shop for businesses to digitally execute all their functions in Pakistan without having to visit any office.

Zulfiqar Ali expects this single window platform to be implemented next year when the digital investment environment in Pakistan will be upgraded.

In an interview with China Economic Net, the Director General emphasized the key factors that have made Pakistan an attractive destination for Chinese direct investment in the digital sector, which include “Pakistan’s strategic location as a gateway to regional markets, the availability of a skilled workforce, and the government’s commitment to creating an enabling environment for foreign investors.”

The success of joint ventures and collaborations between Pakistani and Chinese companies in the digital sector has led to the development of cutting-edge technologies, innovative solutions and the expansion of digital services across Pakistan, he added.

He said that the Chinese investment brings not only capital but also expertise, knowledge transfer and access to international markets.

Regarding the future of Chinese direct investment in digital innovation in Pakistan, the DG expressed optimism over the ongoing collaboration between the two countries and the potential for further investment in emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, e-commerce, fintech and smart cities.