Samsung plans cellphone assembly in Pakistan



South Korean tech giant Samsung has been in talks with three investors for fixing a mobile manufacturing unit in Pakistan.

Sources said out of three parties, one features a franchise from Korea which has already found out vehicle assembling plants in Pakistan under Auto Development Policy (ADP) 2016-21, while the other two are different parties.

They said thus far no agreement has been signed as Samsung, after shortlisting various companies, is within the process of finalizing its decision to award the licence to at least one of the businesses for cellphone manufacturing.

The world’s biggest smartphone maker said in an earnings estimate on Wednesday that it expected operating profit of around 12.5 trillion won ($11 billion) for April to June, up from 8.15 trillion won a year earlier.

Companies being shortlisted for the award of license

“The Korean company aims to start out local assembly of cellphones within the half-moon of this year,” a source, who is taking care of the event within the mobile sector, told Dawn on Wednesday.

Market sources said Samsung may prefer the choice to ink the agreement with one among the Korean companies operating in Pakistan due to comfort level which it’s going to not find with non-Korean firms.

The Engineering Development Board (EDB), an arm of the Ministry of Industries and Production (MoIP), approved Mobile Device Manufacturing Policy (MDMP) in 2020 then far 21 companies are given the green signal for mobile device manufacturing authorization from March to June 2021.

As per the EDB list, factories’ locations include Rawalpindi, Karachi, Lahore, Faisalabad, and Islamabad. Some prominent brand names include Nokia, Oppo, Infinix, Tecno, Itel, Vivo, Alpha, Realme, VGOTEL, DCODE, Calme, Xcell, Spice, TCL, Alcatel, etc.

Sources said that the govt has framed MDMP to encourage foreign players to require a plunge in Pakistan for fixing cellphone manufacturing units. The aim is to supply the merchandise under the banner of “Make in Pakistan” and to discourage imports.

Cellphone imports, as per figures of the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), have swelled by 63pc to $1.860 billion in 11MFY21 from $1.138bn within the same period last financial year.

According to the Economic Survey 2020-21, from July 2012 to February 2021, the telecom sector has attracted over $3.9 billion of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). The FDI in telecom during July-February FY21 was $101.1 million. Telecom operators have invested an amount of $363.9m during July-December FY21.

The main driver behind this investment is that the cellular mobile sector has invested $253.5m during the amountthe general investment within the telecom sector during the primary eight months of FY21 crossed $465m. Pakistan’s cellphone subscribers have reached 183.48m by May 2021.

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