The Special Technology Zones Authority (STZA), Cabinet Division, Government of Pakistan, the Pakistan’s Embassy in Beijing, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Zhongguancun Belt and Road Industrial Promotion Association (ZBRA) of People’s Republic of China, jointly organized the first ever China-Pakistan Technology Investment Conference (CPTIC) virtually.
More than 4500 representatives of the Chinese technology ecosystem, including science and technology parks, high tech production enterprises, technology companies, investment organizations, research and development centers, Chinese state-owned infrastructure companies, and Chinese agencies of national, provincial, and municipal governments attended the conference.
The conference can probably be termed as one of the biggest ever forum held between Pakistan and China in terms of participation from Chinese companies. STZA aims to create new linkages with the technology sector in China and pave way for the Pakistani and Chinese technology players to cooperate in the field of technology, and attract Chinese investments, knowledge and technology capabilities through ensuring world-class customer experience and ease of doing business for their operations in Pakistan’s Special Technology Zones (STZs).
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The Honourable Ambassador of Pakistan to the People’s Republic of China, His Excellency Mr Moin ul Haque opened the forum by welcoming the Chinese representatives. Acknowledging the strong diplomatic ties between the two nations, the Honorable informed the participants that joint working groups with the Ministry of Science and Technology, and Ministry of Information and Technology, have been established under the CPEC framework.
He recognized China as a global leader in the technology industry and stated that both countries have many avenues to cooperate in the field of technology sector. The Ambassador appreciated the role of Chairman STZA and his able team in enabling the technology ecosystem in Pakistan and create effective linkages with Chinese technology companies.
Mr Amer Hashmi, the Chairman of STZA stated that China is a leading partner in developing the knowledge ecosystem in Pakistan, revealing that STZA had set up a dedicated China desk to help Chinese technology companies and large-scale enterprises investing in Pakistan’s STZs.
The STZs are being developed under the Triple Helix Model of Innovation, bringing together the Government, Industry and Academia to remove barriers and create ease of doing business for domestic and foreign technology sector companies. He thanked the Ambassador of Pakistan to the People’s Republic of China for facilitating the virtual conference and pledged his resolute support for the Chinese technology investors.
The conference was also facilitated by the Chinese Embassy in Islamabad, which was represented by Mr Cao Zhouhua, the First Secretary of Science and Technology. He said that both sides are exploring multi spectral cooperation in the technology sector including, knowledge sharing, zone development, research, policy development, joint training of professionals, and management of STZs as per international benchmarks.
Director of Strategic Planning at STZA, Hamza Saeed Orakzai, who also heads the China desk at STZA, gave a detailed presentation to the representatives including the tax incentives, regulatory support and one window facilitation for the perspective Chinese technology investors. He highlighted several large-scale Chinese tech companies that are already in the application process.
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He further explained that the STZs are planned under the purview of sustainable development goals and hence purposefully designed to be eco-friendly. He said that STZA has already notified STZs in Islamabad, Lahore and Haripur, while more STZs in Sindh, Balochistan, Punjab, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir were in the pipeline under the national roll-out plan.
Mr Zhang Xiodong the President of ZBRA stated that due to the technology boom in China, the taxation revenue increased by 2000 times over the last 30 years. He called for the integration of Chinese and Pakistani Universities for joint R&D to enable and support the China – Pakistan Innovation Centre in China and said that ZBRA and STZA under a partnership are exploring avenues of cooperation for the development of STZs in Pakistan.
Mr Javaid Iqbal, the Chief Commercial Officer of STZA urged Chinese technology sector companies, investors and large-scale enterprises to engage in strategic conversation with STZA to explore future opportunities, stating that Pakistan’s demographic advantage stood for a unique investment base for Chinese technology companies and research organizations, and both countries could enormously benefit by working together in R&D, especially in emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, cloud and quantum computing, semiconductors, internet of things and smart devices design and manufacturing.
The STZA remains committed to job creation, technology transfer and human capital development in Pakistan with a special focus on youth entrepreneurship and innovation. Through its international partnerships and agreements, STZA aims to create a technology-driven knowledge economy in Pakistan to diversify economic indicators and create a new engine for rapid economic growth in the country.