"There are about 22 million internet users in Pakistan. Thats more than the entire population of Australia" exclaimed the Head of Emerging Market Development, South East Asia at Google, Jana Levene; responding to a question regarding the potential for the Companys business in Pakistan. She was addressing a moot of IT experts, journalists and bloggers at a first of its kind seminar in Karachi, earlier this week.
The simple analogy offered by Googles representative offers deep insight to the mushrooming demand in the local market viz-a-viz information technology. The fact that this meeting was attended by no less than half a dozen executives from Google also underscores the potential demand that this company and others are eyeing in the country.
But the bounties from an enhanced presence of a company like Google in Pakistan would not only be reaped by the tech-giant. Local businesses too, should be excited by the prospects of leveraging the tools on offer, to reach customers; existing and potential, in manners much more effective than ever before.
A local newspaper reported on Tuesday that Mark Warburton from Googles emerging markets sales division revealed, "Google Pakistan got eight million queries on Monday alone". It cited that of these, 386,000 queries pertained to the telecom sector, averaging about 15,000 queries per hour. Even the most well placed billboard on the busiest road of the biggest city of the country would barely manage to reach such a staggering audience.
Whats more, the long-awaited introduction of 3G technology in Pakistan will likely bring even more people online, bolstering up the existing tally of two million broadband users in the country. Once that happens, the growth potential for Google and other businesses leveraging their market outreach through it could be mind boggling.