is one of the next big markets for Google in Asia, according to
executives at Google Pakistan, who held their first ever public event in
the country to highlight the technology giant’s interest in the
is Google’s next big market in the region,” Google’s head of Emerging
Market Development, Southeast Asia, Jana Levene told a gathering of IT
experts, bloggers, businessmen and selected journalists at Pearl
Continental hotel in Karachi on Monday.
gathering comes after Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt visited
Pakistan in June to meet with the country’s politicians and businessmen.
“It was just a regular visit. He wanted to find out how important the
use of technology for the country’s leadership and businessmen is,” said
Badar Khushnood, Google’s consultant in Pakistan.
Google has intensified its operations by getting involved in a lot of
projects – especially with the Punjab government – in the country
recently. “Innovation Punjab” is one example where Google has partnered
with Punjab Information Technology Board. It has launched a social
innovation fund – in collaboration with Pakistan Software Houses
association, also their partner for the event – to support young
entrepreneurs struggling to get their ideas public.
increased interest in the country, Schmidt’s visit of Pakistan and now
this event sends very strong signals to the country – the giant may
consider opening an office in Pakistan. Khusnood denied if Google was
opening its first office in the country anytime soon but added it
couldn’t be ruled out. Google’s representatives attributed Pakistan’s
growing importance to multiple factors.
a market, the first thing we look at is its demographics – number of
internet users in that country,” Jana Levene said, explaining why Google
is interested in Pakistan. “Twenty-two million internet users is a huge
number. It’s more than Australia’s whole population. That’s why we are
here,” she said.
second thing Google is interested in, Levene said, is the size of the
market. “Pakistan is a $400 to $500 million market for Google,” she
said. Currently, four of the top 10 most popular websites in Pakistan
are Google’s sites.
framework is another that area Google considers in the markets of its
interest, according to Levene. “The laws regarding internet censorship,
the security of our employee etcetera are the things we take into
in her presentation, went at length to describe the features of the
Pakistani market that keeps them interested: aside from the 22 million
internet users that include two million broadband users, seven million
Facebook users, one million Twitter users and 1.2 million LinkedIn
users. Of the total mobile phones sold in Pakistan 6% are smart-phones.
about what Pakistanis search on Google, Levene said Pakistanis search
Google to solve social problems, discuss politics, start business,
entertain and build communities. For example, a Pakistani businessman
partnered with an IT expert to start a business for leather shoes.
Pakistanis used Google Earth and Google Map tools to track which areas
were affected in 2010 floods. As a result, the government was able to
reach 800,000 people. On the lighter side, Ali Gul Pir became a YouTube
sensation after his video ‘Wadere Ka Beta’ went viral on internet.
Warburton, from Google’s emerging markets’ sales division, highlighted
the power that Google’s search engine placed at the fingertips of
Pakistani companies. Google Pakistan got eight million queries on Monday
alone, he said. He then broke down those queries by sector: 386,000
were telecom queries, which translates to 15,000 queries every hour.
Google makes information like this available through its Adwords tool,
which can help businesses gain insights into their customers’ interests.
calling you to help us bring more Pakistanis online,” Jana Levene said
addressing country’s leadership as well as the technology sector. “Tell
the world Pakistan is economically viable. It’s a safe place to do
business,” Levene said.