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KARACHI: Some 48 Pakistani companies are registered to exhibit at the 43rd edition of GITEX GLOBAL this year in Dubai, one of the biggest tech shows in the region that is set to kick off on October 16.

Among them is ITCN Asia, which has been hosting tech conferences in Pakistan since the early 2000s.

Muhammad Umair Nizam, Project Director, told Business Recorder the organisation will be reaching out to international companies that are interested to invest in Pakistan.

“Our purpose is to attract foreign, especially GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) companies to come to Pakistan and see our SME potential in the tech sector.

“We expect we will be able to convince them and eventually collaborate for mutually beneficial business ventures.”

43rd edition of GITEX GLOBAL to take place from Oct 16 in Dubai

Another company that will be returning to GITEX this year is Tally Marks Consulting (TMC). Managing Director Abdul Haseeb told Business Recorder that TMC is looking forward to the event “for increased global exposure and valuable networking opportunities”.

“We aim to showcase our latest IT solutions and innovations, connecting with industry leaders, potential partners, and clients to foster collaboration and business growth.”

The event will not only enable TMC to engage with both competitors and collaborators, but thought leadership sessions at the event will help it stay at the forefront of emerging IT trends and technologies.

“As advocates of Pakistan as the next IT Hub in South Asia, we hope GITEX 2023 will have a positive impact on Pakistan’s IT industry,” said Haseeb.

Speaking of his experience last year, Haseeb added: “GITEX 2022 allowed us to make a significant impact, highlighting Pakistan’s IT market potential. The presence of the Minister of IT & Telecommunications added importance to our presence.”

At GITEX 2022, Pakistan makes a pitch for investment in its IT sector

Echoing Haseeb’s thoughts, Syed Shehryar Abbas at IT solutions firm Tower Tech said the idea of attending is to understand local and international trends in the tech space, as well as meeting competitors and observing their strategies.

Abbas added the next seven to 10 years will see the Middle East establish itself as the tech hub of the world and it’s now more important than ever to have one’s brand recognised in the region.

A litmus test for first-timers

Meanwhile, Laeeq Ahmad, CEO at Financial Research & Portfolio Tracking Platform Sarmaaya, said his firm is going to GITEX in Dubai for the first time to develop an understanding of what’s happening in the tech space.

“We are going to check if we can scale this product globally and meet investors as well,” Ahmad told Business Recorder. “But the focus is more to get connected and understand what others are doing.”

Ahmad said this is Sarmaaya’s first time participating in any international event and it will be a litmus test for them to see what they get out of it.

Pakistan pavilion will be ‘one of the biggest’

The Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) and Trade Development Authority Pakistan (TDAP) will be hosting this year’s Pakistan pavilion, which they say will be “one of the biggest”.

“Although smaller than last year, our pavilion will still be one of the biggest at GITEX Dubai,” Shahbaz Hameed, PSEB’s Director Business Development and Partnerships, told Business Recorder. “There are 26 diverse and innovative, PSEB registered companies, all set to showcase their products.”

“There are around 10 more companies going privately, 50 startups, over 100 delegates and over 2,000 visitors from Pakistan,” he added.

Officials who attended last year told Business Recorder that numerous contracts were signed by Pakistani companies via leads at GITEX 2022.

Hameed was also upbeat and confident that PSEB will see a much better response after a successful stint last year.

He praised the UAE government for facilitating PSEB’s “impactful participation” in GITEX every year.

This year “we have been given two 40-minute talk slots free of cost, which otherwise would have cost a lot of money,” Hameed said.

Hameed added that PSEB is focusing on the country’s tech strengths, in areas such as software development, IT service, outsourcing, fintech, e-commerce, gaming, AI and data science, and the organisation expects some successful contracts with not only Middle East companies but also other international entities.

According to the GITEX website, Pakistanis speaking at the event include Arzish Azam, CEO Ejad Labs, who will be addressing the session titled ‘Entrepreneurship and Investment Ecosystem’.

Meanwhile, Mehzad Sahar, Group Head InfoSec at Engro Corp, will also participate in a panel called ‘Converging Worlds: Securing by design, the hidden pathways of OT & IT’.

Pakistan’s section at GITEX last year was titled ‘Tech Destination Pakistan’, with roughly 30 companies exhibiting, including Systems Limited, Inbox Business Technologies and TMC.

This year, Pakistan’s participation will be spread across the main event at the Dubai World Trade Centre, as well as Expand North Star, hosted by Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy, which for the first time will be held in Dubai Harbour.

“The intense demand for involvement in GITEX from the global tech and start-up community is an acknowledgment of the strong impetus to learn, exchange, debate and challenge the recent developments in the tech sphere,” Trixie Loh Mirmand, Executive Vice President of Events Management at DWTC, the organiser of GITEX GLOBAL and Expand North Star, said in a statement earlier.

“From AI, cyber to the mounting interest in clean tech, GITEX converges public and private sector leaders from more than 170 countries to explore the new unknown paradigms of the future digital economy.”

Additional reporting by Bilal Hussain

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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