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In a significant development for Pakistan’s mobile phone industry, the country has become an exporter of 4G smartphones, said Advisor to Prime Minister on Trade and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood on Saturday.

“It is heartening to see that within a short period of time, Pakistan has become a 4G smartphone exporter," tweeted Dawood.

The advisor also congratulated Air Link Communications for exporting its first batch of 1,500 locally manufactured smartphones to the UAE.

“It is a small beginning for the company but a significant milestone for Pakistan's mobile phone industry,” said the advisor.

Pakistan is looking to become a manufacturer and exporter of smartphones amid the entry of global companies in the country. This will make the country more self-reliant in the local production of handsets, said Fitch Solutions in a report released last month.

Pakistan to become more self-reliant in handset production: Fitch

Fitch added that Pakistan needs to become less dependent on imports and falling total ownership costs (TCOs) for “premium devices will be key to unlocking the full value of the country's fast-growing mobile broadband market”.

Recently, Chinese company vivo opened its new smartphone manufacturing facility in Pakistan, with fellow competitors such as Xiaomi and Realme already in line to open up their local manufacturing sites within the next few months.

China's vivo sets up smartphone production unit in Pakistan

Lucky Motor Corporation (LMC), a subsidiary of Lucky Cement Limited, has also entered into an agreement with Samsung Gulf Electronics Co., FZE (Samsung) for the production of Samsung-branded mobile devices in Pakistan.

Lucky Motor announces agreement for production of Samsung-branded mobile devices in Pakistan

Pakistan's young population has become an attractive market for mobile phone manufacturers. However, the push to set up plants in the country comes in tandem with high import and regulatory duties as authorities look to encourage a 'Make in Pakistan' approach.

The government has already stated its intention to promote manufacturing/assembly with the auto sector, smartphone industries being in the spotlight in recent weeks.

Pakistan relies heavily on imports for its handset needs with the bill causing a substantial dent in the trade deficit.

Dawood seeks investment plans from mobile companies to address impediments

Last month, the Ministry of Commerce sought investment plans from mobile companies to address procedural hindrances.

In a meeting with members of the Pakistan Mobile Phone Manufacturers Association (PMPMA) and representatives from Samsung, Oppo, Vivo, Tecno, Infinix and Inovi, Dawood discussed the issues facing mobile companies.

During the meeting, the advisor stressed the need to scale up the production capacity so that exportable surpluses could be generated, adding that companies should also share their investment plans so that procedural hindrances, if any, could instantly be addressed.

The Advisor maintained that mobile exports should meet the target of $1 billion in line with the incentives given by the government.

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