With the gradual rise of the ‘Generation-Y’, there’s a seismic paradigm shift taking place in the society. This very shift has significantly altered the landscape of the Pakistani business market as well. The new trends and fashions come and go in the blink of an eye, which calls for a tremendously dynamic marketing and development strategy for the businesses to stay afloat.
A lot of this can be attributed to social media and other various digital platforms that influence the audience to catch-on to or reject an offering or an idea in an instant. This has made the business dynamics of the entire world fairly challenging, with Pakistan being no exception.
However, the recent developments in the way we do things, such as dining, shopping, travel, etc. call for the need to maximize efficiency. Smart devices are one of the driving forces behind this emerging need as they practically put every facet of utility in the palm of our hands.
These conveniences have made way for certain businesses to experience exponential growth for many years to come. With that said, let’s have a look at the 5 most promising investment avenues to consider in Pakistan today:
5. App Development
Bearing in mind the fact that smart devices are the ‘be all and end all’ gadgets for us in terms of utility and convenience, it makes perfect sense to invest in designing an app that offers that utility and convenience. The use of smart device apps is outgrowing all other means of information and utility by a significant margin.
It ought to be considered that Pakistan is internationally regarded as an emerging and promising market for IT and software development. A recent article by DW stated that Pakistan has experienced an exponential amount of international investment inflow in the tech sector during the past couple of years.
In 2018, Alibaba Group acquired Daraz for an estimated 200 million dollars, which was perhaps the founding moment of an impending growth in the sector. Likewise, Careem has also been acquired by Uber for an astounding 3.1 billion dollars.
Since then, various app-based startups and pre-established firms have raised a tremendous amount of funds within a couple of years. All of this money inflow has made the tech-based startup ecosystem in Pakistan fairly promising.
The younger generation of professionals in our country is quite proficient in terms of ensuring technical soundness, aesthetic appeal, and user-friendliness of an app. This is why Pakistan happens to be among the more preferred countries when it comes to app development outsourcing.
A large number of tech-based startups, both local and international, have taken the Pakistani business market by storm as of late helping Pakistan gradually emerge in the global tech-based business market as a force to be reckoned with. Hence, it’s safe to say that app development and app-based businesses are here to stay for the foreseeable future and remain a lucrative investment avenue.
Blogging is perhaps the ultimate modern channel of information, entertainment, education and opinion creation. For the past few years, the Pakistani audience has been very welcoming of bloggers from various arenas such as technology, travel, lifestyle, cooking, and entertainment to name a few.
This can also be attributed to the emergence of ‘everything digital’ dynamic. Whenever we’re looking for an expert opinion or valid information pertaining to popular areas, we can find it with a tap of a finger, written in a concise, concrete and convenient fashion thanks to some of the really good bloggers out there. Accompany those with the ‘Vlogs’ and you get a complete package.
Pakistani blogosphere is still in a formative phase, which implies that there remain many areas to be explored and tapped into. Some of the critical areas such as automotive, environmental, and business journalism etc. are still up for grabs for an aspiring and competent blogger.
To add to the aforementioned bonuses, the government has also started to recognize the importance of blogging in the modern era as there have been talks of offering financial support to the bloggers in a meeting held between Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication so as to better enable them to portray Pakistan in a positive light.
However, it bears mentioning that opinion sharing and creation arena is a rather sensitive one and makes it important for a blogging platform to add maximum value for the readers in terms of substantiality.
Also, opinionated content is a curse that a lot of content creators suffer from. This is why aspiring bloggers should refrain from opinionating the stories that require more of a deep dive to be told objectively.
If that element is taken care of, blogging is a fairly promising investment avenue that requires a slight bit of patience but can offer huge dividends and a myriad of growth opportunities once it starts to mature.
3. Tour Operation
Thanks to an improved law-and-order situation and the government’s focus, the travel and tourism industry of Pakistan is seeing a remarkable rebirth. The number of travel enthusiasts, both local and foreign, who have been singing praises of Pakistan’s natural beauty and hospitality, has risen dramatically. Due to this, a lot of people have expressed their fondness to explore the country.
Northern areas are the coveted prize for travel enthusiasts in the entire world. During the summer season, thousands of people flock to the north to enjoy the wonderful climate and hospitality. This has resulted in a mushrooming increase in tour operators that organize trips to various locations across the country, especially to the heavenly tourist hotspots in the Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan regions.
Also looking to cease the opportunity to cash in on this resurgence, are some of the international investors. As per the Chairman Board of Investment, Mr. Zubair Gillani, the Government of Pakistan has invited international investment in the more popular tourist attractions in the northern areas such as Gilgit, Swat, Hazara Region and Galiyat.
This recent resurgence of the tourism industry presents a perfect opportunity for the more enterprising travel enthusiasts to start their own tour operating companies. This is an investment avenue that is likely to aid the owners to reap handsome dividends in a short time, especially with the peak season for tourism being just around the corner.
2. Food & Catering
Food is to most Pakistanis what oxygen is to all life on earth. In an interview with Pak & Gulf Economist, president of Pakistan Food Association, Rafiq Rangoonwala stated it the best when he said, “The World Eats to Live. We Live to Eat.”
Our nation’s love for food can be testified by the astronomical number of food outlets in the country. Also, as per Aurora by Dawn, it is estimated that Pakistanis spend almost 40% of their household income on food products.
Additionally, the packaged food industry is also booming in the country. As per the calculations made by Modor Intelligence for the year 2020 to 2025, the packaged food industry is growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 5.8%.
Be it small dhabas or fine dining restaurants, Pakistanis’ undying love for food turns these outlets into entrepreneurial success in most cases making the food industry a fair choice for a fruitful investment.
1. Real Estate
Over the past two decades, the real estate industry has taken off on a rapid upward trajectory with no signs of slowing down in sight.
Pakistani Real Estate sector is one of the most prolific in the world that boasts up to $5.8 billion a year in construction, which is an amount that makes up almost 2% of the country’s GDP.
It’s no secret that a lot of people from remote areas come to settle in the big cities to find work or study, hence, with the growing population and the number of migrants, the demand for real estate projects is only likely to rise. This presents an opportunity to invest and create a revenue stream by various means from buying, renting, and reselling of properties.
Some of the more well-rounded real-estate projects such as Bahria Town, Defense Housing Authority, and many other multi-story residential and commercial projects can serve as a perfect investment platform that promises a growing year-on-year Return On Investment (ROI).
This is perhaps the only investment prospect whereby the use of social media for marketing and business development isn’t done on a huge scale. But that should only serve as an opportunity to better project a real estate venture to a massive audience.
As discussed earlier, digital media has the capability to drive almost every single industry there is. In the current era of fast traveling knowledge and quickly changing trends, capitalizing on the digital media platforms while keeping up with the changing trends and tastes is of the utmost importance in order to ensure sustainability.
With that said, as long as all of the aforesaid elements are accounted for, Pakistan is one of the most promising markets to start a healthy revenue stream through one of the above-mentioned investment avenues.
Karachi-based digital bookkeeping startup, CreditBook raises $1.5 million in seed funding
The Karachi-based digital bookkeeping startup CreditBook, which is trying to ensure that tracking of transactions goes digital, has announced that it has raised US$1.5 million in seed funding from international and local investors.
Key investors included Pakistan’s BitRate Venture Capital, VentureSouq from the United Arab Emirates, US-based Better Tomorrow Ventures, Ratio Ventures, Quiet Capital, Toy Ventures, and i2i Ventures.
Established in June 2020 by Hasib Malik, Iman Jamall, and Hisham Adamjee, CreditBook strives to help microentrepreneurs digitalize and track their transactions.
CreditBook aims to utilize the funding to scale its user base and diversify its product offerings. As indicated by the startup, its registered client base grew 5x in the last six months to reach 500,000.
“Before the launch in June 2020, we had planned to use a mix of digital marketing and offline acquisition. But with lockdown restrictions, we pivoted to a purely digital strategy. We were surprised when we saw thousands of users come onto the platform in the first month with less than $1,000 in total spend,” Malik told Tech in Asia. Via TechinAsia
TIKTOK’s global growth and expansion : a bubble or reality ?
Social media has offered amazing tools and apps that have revolutionized the lifestyle of people. Social networks always keep you connected with your friends, colleagues and family. Some creative apps have become very popular in recent times especially among the enthusiastic youth who create funny clips with the help of TikTok.
Tiktok is the greatest platform for creating short mobile videos. These videos contribute to inspire creativity and bring smiles on the faces of people even amid pandemic and lockdowns. The app has become very popular even in Pandemic and as some of the best informative and educational content went Viral.
Tiktok is the subsidiary of Grand Tech Startup Byetdance -a leading Chinese Startup with mushrooming growth. TikTok has always been expanding its reach worldwide due to its aggressive expansion programs. At present, Tiktok has offices in Los Angeles, New York, London, Paris, Berlin, Dubai, Mumbai, Singapore, Jakarta, Seoul, and Tokyo.
Tiktok was founded in 2012 by Zhang Yiming. Video sharing is the most popular segment among youth and the company has tapped tremendous growth. The Company is also called douyin in China but its global version is called Tiktok. The continual growth empowered it to acquire its American rival app musical.ly. The Company has expanded its outreach globally.
New Dimensions i.e. Online Education
The covid-19 has affected the Education badly throughout the world and the online digital education has been getting ground. Most of the Schools, Colleges, Universities, Coaching centres and Academies have anchored to Online Education such as live lectures, quizzes, Presentations and Webinars. Tiktok has announced to enter the online Education in India as some of the content uploaded on Tiktok related to Education and learning has become viral earning millions of views and generating great revenue prompting Tiktok to enter the world of Education.
Tiktok has already interacted with content creators and firms in India to Provide innovative Learning material as all the educational institutions are closed for an indefinite period and Tiktok finds it the perfect time to enter the world of Education.
According to statistics that social Media app used by more than 200 million users every month in India and Tiktok will cover the range of Science and Math related topics to help students learn from this service.
It has partnered with tech startups Vedanta, Toppr, Made Easy and Gradeup that will produce educational content for TikTok. It is also collaborating with social enterprises Josh Talks and the Nudge Foundation to mentor 5,000 people across India.
Continuing Growth amid Pandemic
According to reports of Forbes and Bloomberg, Byetdance surpasses Uber growth as it has become the top Startup with value at $78 Billion. Byetdance is the parent company of Tiktok that runs various services. Byetdance has made London as its strong base owing to trade war of the US with China in the aftermath of the Wuhan covid-19 outbreak. Trump Administration has imposed limitations on Chinese companies to pressurize China to accept US’ demands. Byetdance has attracted many professionals from Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Apple to establish a strong hub at London to expand its outreach in Europe.
Hiring than Firing amid Pandemic: A big surprise
It is really surprising that when the biggest companies and Franchises are constantly laying off their employees owing to prolonged lockdowns due to Covid-19, The Parent company of Tiktok, the Byetdance has gone on a hiring spree and plans to recruit 10000 professionals in engineering, software and marketing fields that has stunned the world as even tech giants Google, Yahoo, Microsoft have laid off their staff and closed their offices over the covid-19 outbreak advising their employees to work from home.
Increasing Visibility of Byetdance Globally
With the ambitious journey of growth and reaping the enormous benefits, the company has no more remained a secret for the world as its subsidiary Tiktok has broken all the records of usability and popularity exploring new frontiers with successful footprint. The recent leap of Tiktok to launch its Education initiative in India will further its grip in the Asian markets.
Will the bubble burst or Sustain Market Shocks?
The Byetdance has established footprints in Asia and Europe building strong basis and marketing its services, it is estimated that it can sustain the jolts of pandemic and will retain its position as some reports regarding bubble reputation will fade away forever as the popularity graph of the company maintains upward trend and keeps going.
The majority of the world population is youth so if Tiktok focuses on youth-related interests by adopting AI practices, it has already achieved the milestone.
The Tech experts argue that TikTok has foreseen opportunity amid pandemic when the entire markets have crashed, Offices, Business, schools, colleges have been closed and stock markets crashed, even in such circumstances, if a company keeps hiring that means it established its strong bases so the bubble is not going to burst likely in post-Covid-19 World provided that it adheres to its policies of customer retention, market intelligence and the most important Artificial intelligence to explore the interests of users and offering more relevant content.
Besides profits, Tiktok pledged a huge amount for Vaccine development for Africa under its Tiktok for Good endeavours.
Social Media and polarization of society
Social Media has witnessed a mushroom growth that has impacted the discourse of political, cultural and religious systems by providing the equal opportunity of freedom of expression and of sharing an opinion or viewpoint on any issue.
Social Media has played a greater role in rightwing politics that paved the way for populist politicians to reach out to their voters.
Though Social Media has connected the people around the world, at the same time, it is causing division or disintegration and facilitating the social media lobbyists to polarize the communication so much the people support the arguments or opinions or political tirades against leaders without fact checking.
The world has been rocked by social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube because the users of these social networks have already surpassed millions and are growing, but due to the limited regulatory framework, fake news, cyberbullying, extremism and terrorism has reached new heights.
The influencers’ interactions with social media users have polarized the political and social circles that led to the formation of online echo chambers, a tactic of social media recommendations by politicians to influence the users to strengthen their narrative regardless of facts that whether it is right or wrong, but it is knit in a manner that echo chambers appear to be normal for the people thus changing the way of thinking and increasing the supporters base.
The echo chambers post such content that we enjoy a lot while reading, while keeping us away from the content that may stir a debate or arguments or expression of our disagreement over certain social, economic, religious, cultural or policy matters.
The echo chambers keep ideas flowing on a regular basis to the one side –the positive side of the argument, while its negative side is deliberately concealed to hide the facts.
This is the big issue that might be discussed with students, who should be informed and taught at school, college or degree level so that positive and constructive use of this digital medium could be ensured.
Social media connectivity around the world is undoubtedly amazing but the problems it created for both people and students are very dangerous, and need to be addressed and regulated.
Digital media, especially social media, for a long time remained unbridled to post any content that may fall in the purview of hatred, racism, bullying, derogatory remarks, character assault, rebellion, or anti-state elements instigating people to create chaos using the olive branch of social media. Since it was not monitored given the type of content being circulated and the information of people posting such content, including their motives behind such content as may have a constant flow of information that is recommended by the users pretending to be professionals, experts and mentors.
Alarmingly, people without fact-checking go on sharing the content and thus creating hype for such an issue as does not have a basis and was the result of a conspiracy to exert pressure on some person or leaders to get some favours.
“The schools and colleges should chalk out the initiative to create awareness and practice of fair use so that social platforms should not post single or one-sided opinions or arguments but should welcome both so that positive use could be ensured. This will further the importance of social media.“
Sometimes, the active echo chambers or volcanoes erupt over such issues as may be beneficial for the wider circle of society, but this finds serious criticism masterminded by people with an individual approach. They term it detrimental for them since it did not serve their interests, though it might have been beneficial for general people.
Humans have an intuitional inclination to communicate with like-minded people or the people with the same choices on social media, thus the echo chambers get even stronger. The discourse that discourages dissenting voices always comes under fire from the thinkers and intellectuals of the nation since it is tantamount to concealing the facts from the people.
The world is coming closer after the covid-19 pandemic that engulfed the entire world, bringing misery and economic crisis. The social media debates go with biased and unbiased approaches regarding getting the vaccine. Some optimists termed it great, while some pessimists or biased approaches raised questions.
The echo chambers try to influence their opinions and win support.Similarly, echo chambers of both Democrats and Republicans only canvassed for their candidates but the leaders instigated the masses to attack Capitol Hill through social media and emotional speeches using their influence on social media, especially Twitter .
Some researchers have found that echo chambers influence people to win support but social media influencers have a follower-base of millions, and may polarize the public and politics, since influencers share success stories like internet marketers compelling you to buy their products.
The opinion leaders and experts reveal that for the last two decades, the percentage of American people having consistently holding liberal or conservative beliefs— rather than a blend of the two, which is the case for most people— has increased from 10 percent to over 20. Beliefs about the other side are becoming more negative creating an alarming situation.
Since 1994, the number of people who see the opposing political party as a threat to “the nation’s well-being or security” has doubled, which heralds how deepening polarization has predictable results raising eyebrows.
The government shutdowns, violent protests, scathing attacks on elected officials, the capitol Hill incident –all indicate that social media have been polarizing the political system and divided the nation each passing day due to echo chambers of both mainstream parties regarding the issues of health, security, human rights, employment and environment.
According to evidence from empirical research conducted on US politicians, politicians following extreme ideologies attracted a larger public audience than those who were moderate, which is the real example of echo chambers.
Usually, messages containing extreme thoughts, emotional instigation, patriotism, or criticizing the opposition received a warm welcome on social media platforms than those messages reflecting merely information.
The polarization of issues and political ideology will have serious repercussions in future that should be addressed on a timely basis so that societies could be saved from further isolation and disintegration.
The issues could be resolved through educating the people and creating awareness about the fair and professional use of social media channels for advocacy for winning support for legislation, an issue, a policy or employment.
Instead of showing the dark side of the issue, we have to educate people regarding both pros and cons of matters of importance for the general public rather than misleading the people with biased approaches to oppose the initiative of the government, community or civil society for the general benefit.
Social Media network operators are the bigwigs and the most influential in this.They cannot be controlled but only be regulated by framing such laws that may ensure fair use of this digital platform and are careful so that users may not face any legal issue by discussing sensitive issues such as desecration of holy places, religions, personalities, anti-state tirades, rebellion, terrorism, extremism and so on. The sensitive issue may stir protests and cause legal proceedings, if the cyber-regulatory laws are implemented to discourage the influence of one-sided opinions or campaigns.
We cannot deny the importance of social media platforms as they provide equal opportunity to people to express and share their thoughts or opinions, but safe and thoughtful use of these platforms will encourage healthy discourse and prove pivotal in promoting dialogue to discuss social, economical and cultural issues peacefully without hitting the sentiments of other communities.
Thus, echo chambers will be less powerful to build a narrative that is appealing but the readers will be engaging themselves in the debates that need interaction.
Undoubtedly, social media platforms have changed the political and social approach of the people and enabled face-to-face digital interaction through video and audio conference calls, so their fair use will mitigate their cons manifold.
The social media networks apply algorithms to connect you with like-minded people but it is up to you whether your engagement in communication is either unbiased or biased.
Social media should be promoting positive discourse to explore the political and economic solutions to the problems of people by reflecting the two sides of the coin so that the discourse be constructive and problem-solving. Social media has given a voice to marginalized people and governments are compelled to resolve the issues of people on a priority basis due to trending topics of social media.
Even the populist leaders may face resistance from social media as the public makes the most of the freedom of expression and criticizes the role of politicians for their failure to address the issues of the public.
In recent times, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter have been creating history in highlighting issues of both public and national interest but at the same time such platforms have been taken by storm by those influencers who continue to feed the news about their vested interests and create psychosocial hype for any issue that may jolt the power corridors of Government.
The politicians always take to Twitter for their precise viewpoint and policy debate and are usually followed by millions of followers. Even the print and electronic media take the tweets as policy statements or the narrative of some party or group.
The schools and colleges should chalk out the initiative to create awareness and practice of fair use so that social platforms should not post single or one-sided opinions or arguments but should welcome both so that positive use could be ensured. This will further the importance of social media.
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