Pakistan’s cellphone industry: A prospective $15 billion exporter or another automotive-style catastrophe

If not India’s success, recent domestic disruptions should force reflection upon what we want the sector to be and, more importantly, what it should not be

Apple CEO Tim Cook paid a visit next door this April, to cut the ribbon in Mumbai and New Delhi as India welcomed its first Apple stores with exultation and sanguinity. The air was redolent with the sound of animated chatter as the event marked the evolution of Apple’s involvement in India. A new chapter in a relationship dating back to 2017 when India enticed Apple to outsource iPhone manufacturing. A relationship that has even led to Apple rivalling arch-rival Samsung in adopting India’s PLI’s scheme to net the country over $9 billion in phone exports this fiscal year alone. 

We observed with bated breath and a twinge of envy as our rival made these strides. How did India manage to pull this off? How did it convince the world’s most valuable company to invest? These were just some of the many questions that ran through our minds as we witnessed the spectacle. 

Our mobile industry, in contrast to its Indian counterpart, currently stares into the abyss. A paucity of raw materials and components has debilitated the industry, and its inability to open letters of credit portends a complete shutdown.

As Cook left India with a note expressing his eagerness to return, it was clear that India had made a lasting impression. For us looking on with envy, this only added insult to injury. The contrast couldn’t be more pronounced. It was hard not to imagine what it would be like if these stores had opened under the guise of Lahore’s minarets and not Delhi’s, or peppered with the briny zephyr of Karachi and not Mumbai.

How did we let another opportunity slip through our fingers? Does April’s situation offer a chance for reflection on our capabilities and limitations? In this momentary lapse in mobile manufacturing, we can ask: Should we expect Tim Cook on our shores anytime soon or will we repeat history by supporting an inferior industry?

Article continues after this advertisement


Note: Access to the full article is limited to paid subscribers only. If you are already a paid subscriber, please here. Otherwise, you can choose to purchase a subscription package below for as low as Rs 275/month:

Choose Your Subscription Plan

Note: Access to the full article is limited to paid subscribers only. If you are already a paid subscriber, please Otherwise, you can choose to purchase a subscription package below for as low as Rs 275/month:


Daniyal Ahmad
Daniyal Ahmad
The author is a member of the staff, and covers the automobile, energy and advertising insdusties as a sector analyst. He can be reached at [email protected]


  1. Sir, you did not cover the aspect that the Pakistani govt has for years driven foreigners away. Take any sector (oil and gas: ENI, OMV, Exxon…pharma : Bristol Myers Squibb, Merck, Pfizer… Banking: ABN Amro / RBS, Barclays, HSBC…. Other sectors AIG, Commercial Union / Aviva, Temasek, Virgin Atlantic,
    Etc). How would they attract Apple or Microsoft or anyone else?

  2. Pakistan’s cellphone industry holds immense potential, poised to become a remarkable $15 billion exporter. With the right strategies and investments, it has the power to shape a thriving technological landscape and create countless job opportunities. Let’s support its growth and turn this opportunity into a shining success story for Pakistan.

  3. I cannot thank you enough for the impact your writing has had on my personal and professional growth. Your articles have been instrumental in shaping my perspective and enhancing my skills.

  4. 8171 BISP and Ehsaas program will start meeting from Monday Federal Minister of Benazir Income Support Program Shazia Murri has announced that this time a stipend of Rs.9000 will be given. You can check your eligibility through the 8171 web portal and register through Ehsaas 8171.

  5. The purpose of BISP 8171 Check Online Registration is to register those households who are poor and needy, as Pakistan has suffered economic problems due to Corona and 53% of the population has been affected. Unemployment increased as people lost their businesses and could not support their homes.

  6. BISP 8171 is a program in Pakistan called the Benazir Income Support Program (BISP). It helps people who are poor and need help. The program gives money to those who are eligible. BISP 8171 is important because it tries to make things better for people who don’t have much money. It helps them go to school, get medical care, and have a better life. The program is trying to make sure that everyone has a fair chance to succeed in Pakistan. Apply Now

  7. Market Size: Pakistan has a vast mobile phone market, with millions of subscribers. The penetration rate of mobile phones is quite high, and it continues to grow as more people gain access to affordable devices and affordable data plans.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Popular Posts