Yesterday(Wednesday, 24 November), Federal Information Technology (IT) Minister Syed Aminul Haque said while addressing a ceremony in Islamabad that social medial platform TikTok is willing to open its offices in Islamabad with negotiations having been completed successfully and hinted that another major social media platform was also willing to come to the country. Though the exact details of the negotiations or the estimated date of the event were not disclosed it is considered that most of the arrangements have been done and TikTok will soon open an office in Islamabad.
It was only obvious that TikTok will actively come to Pakistan as its popularity and growth in Pakistan have been over the roof and soon they would need to maintain things as close as possible. Pointing to the government’s desire for social media companies to open their offices in the country, he said that TikTok was one with which talks had been successful and that the platform may soon open offices in Islamabad.
The government of Pakistan has tried to exert direct control over the operations of TikTok in Pakistan but it obviously hasn’t been the case. TikTok has also been banned by the government several times due to the resistance shown by TikTok. By opening an office in Islamabad that will handle the operations of Pakistan and which will have local staff, TikTok will have better communication with the Government and problems could finally come to an end.
Syed Amil Ul Haq has hinted that another major social media platform which is part of the collective social media working in Pakistan has expressed its willingness to open offices in Pakistan. No hints of what this social media platform might be were provided by the minister.
Senator Afnan Ullah announced on Wednesday that a Google team would be visiting Islamabad in December to begin operations in the country. Senator also mentioned that once it happens, 15,000 Pakistani citizens will receive scholarships. A Google delegation would be visiting the country on December 11, he added.
The senator also said that all necessary paperwork was okayed by the Securities Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) last week. In order to help the people of Pakistan acquire the knowledge and digital skills they need to succeed in today’s economy, Google launched Career Certifications at the beginning of September.
Google has pledged 15,000 scholarships by the end of the year through local partners IRM and Ignite, which are made up of educational institutions, industry partners, and nonprofits as part of its mission to Unlock Pakistan’s Digital Potential.
In addition, he stated that the South Korean government had granted Pakistan’s information technology industry a loan of one billion dollars at an interest rate of 0.1 percent.
“There are many different facets of information technology that Pakistan may concentrate on in order to emerge as an information technology giant in the region very soon.”
The senator said he was working toward revolutionizing the country’s information technology industry in collaboration with the government and on his own initiative. “I have a higher education in the field of information technology and I want to use it for the good of the country,” you say. “I want to utilize it for the benefit of the country.”
Haque also talked about the production of locally made smartphones and how it would have positive impacts on the tech growth in Pakistan. Syed said that the government aims to increase production so that the import of smartphones can be reduced.
“17.9 million mobile phones were produced locally in 12 years,”
He said over the last four years, some Rs65 billion have been spent to connect the unserved and underserved areas across the country with the digital world.
Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) Chairman Maj General Amir Azeem Bajwa said that JSM (Global System for Mobile communication) customers can buy smartphones in easy installments. He said 55% of people around the world are using mobile internet while in Pakistan this ratio stood at 57%.
“The GSM has reported that 50% of people are using smartphones in Bangladesh,” he said.
He further added that in Pakistan, some six million broadband subscribers have been added since 2018 alone, while broadband subscribers have increased from 5 million to 10 million.
The minister said that PTA’s DIRBS system has proven to be a game changer as this system blocks phones with stolen or duplicate IMEIs and provides a level playing field to mobile manufacturers.