ITCN Asia 2013 at Karachi Expo Center

ITCN Asia is annual Information and Communication Technology event in Karachi. The 2013 edition of ITCN Asia was organized on October 8-10 at Karachi Expo Center.

ITCN Asia had two segments, the technology workshops and the exhibition. The workshops covered eBanking & Finance, eGovernment,  Digital Marketing and eLearning among other topics.

My observations of ITCN Asia 2013 are based on my visit to the venue on the second day of the event.

At the venue:

There was a long queue of cars outside Karachi Expo Center when I reached the place at around 4pm. My initial thoughts were that the event was jam packed with visitors and I may not find parking inside. However, a closer look left me in bad taste. I have found that all the cars outside Expo Center had their drivers waiting for the passengers who went in for sight seeing. No one from the event organizers or the traffic police was there to sort out these dozens of cars obstructing traffic and making it hard for the visitors to get inside – Karachi, as usual.

The exhibition at ITCN Asia 2013 was duller than expected. Only 2 halls of Karachi Expo Center was used to host the exhibitors. Although the organizers claim there were more than 200 exhibitors at the event, I seriously doubt the figure. Also, many exhibitors preferred to attend virtually, leaving their stands empty with only a name plate showing the space is reserved for them.

ITCN Asia organizers also claim that the return rate for exhibitors is 80%. I doubt that as well. Comparing with ITCN Asia 2012, majority of exhibitors have not returned this year.

ITCN Asia 2013 Platinum Partner:

texpoSince last few years, ITCN Asia has a platinum partner who receives maximum promotional exposure, obviously in return for a fat cheque. In ITCN Asia 2013, the platinum partner was Texpo.

According to their website, Texpo is an infrastructure provider, application development and business & IT consulting company. Texpo has head office in Dubai, UAE with presence in USA and Saudi Arabia.

While it is nice to see an infrastructure provider coming to Pakistan / Karachi. I am unable to think up a business case for them, considering the insecurity and electricity issues here.

The trend at ITCN Asia 2013:

A number of digital marketing companies were present at ITCN Asia 2013. This shows a trend that more and more businesses are realizing the power of Internet Marketing.

The Takeaway of ITCN Asia 2013:

The takeaway of ITCN Asia 2013 was iFahja, a software house from Peshawar, Khyber Pakthunkhwa. iFahja participated in ITCN Asia 2013 with My Smart Remote, an app to control car lock/unlock features. It is great to see creative minds exhibiting their products from troubled parts of Pakistan.


Exhibitors who came without homework:

ITCN Asia 2013 had its share of exhibitors that came to the show without doing their homework. One such participant was A company from Nazimabad, Karachi, offering email marketing among other services. However, their representative of unaware of terms like double opt-in, white-lists and permission based marketing. When I asked him if people complain on receiving unsolicited emails, he said: “Agar aap kay ghar koi Pizza Hut ka pamphlet daal day tau kya aap Pizza Huat jaa kar complain karain gay?”. I hope not all digital marketing companies think and work like this.

Another exhibitor that participated in ITCN Asia 2013 without doing homework was They were at the event to promote their website as well as Location Based Search and Location Based Advertising. However, their website is half baked with number of pages showing prompts like “Update Shortly”.


Past exhibitors missing in ITCN Asia 2013:

Previous events of ITCN Asia had some interesting exhibitors which were not found this year. This also refutes the claim of 80% repeat visitors by event organizers. Some of the past exhibitors that were not present at ITCN Asia 2013 are Telecom providers (Wi-tribe, PTCL etc), brands like LG, United Mobile, Huawei, Tenda etc.

In spite of all its shortcomings, ITCN Asia is a commendable step to keep IT industry in media limelight. The event also provides some networking and marketing opportunities to companies seeking potential buyers or target markets.


7 thoughts on “ITCN Asia 2013 at Karachi Expo Center”

  1. @Furqan: HP, Dell had no official representation at ITCN Asia 2013. Only their resellers / partners were there.

    Also, I would recommend re-reading the last para of my post. I have mentioned the positive element of the event.

    I am visiting ITCN since its inception. My observations are not based on a random visit.

  2. @ Kashif: This is the point which I have made in my comments mate. Amongst all the odds, conducting exhibitions like that is a very brave act. When the news like such occasions comes out to us in US, it gives a very positive message about Pakistan to the IT fraternity abroad. Yes you are right that government should promote such events tremendously to boost the IT sector and its capabilities to the rest of the world just to make this industry more lucrative- I am hoping that this will turn out to be a norm as long as such events keep taking place.

    Answer to your firs query and just to fill you in; I happened to met the officials of following foreign companies at ITCN. Fortinet (NASDAQ: FTNT), Microsoft, Extreme Networks, HP, Dell as well. Now seeing your understanding that if companies have offices/ Operation in the UAE and Pakistan then you wont consider them an International company is beyond my understanding. Perhaps we shall start calling HP, DELL, FORTINET a local Pakistani company by your definition? I guess companies like IBM, Oracle, CISCO, Juniper, Intel and others shall be participating in such events too.

    Oh one more thing; would you go to to any event from your home or office unless it is of any interest to you? So what does this suggest to you when I wrote that the officials from different banks etc were present at the exhibition because I am sure they were not there to waste their time!

    Bottom line, efforts like ITCN and others kept going on……these efforts will take Pakistan to its glory in IT world. Self promotions of any country can be projected by such kind of events only and one should never forget its importance.

  3. @Furqan: Can you please highlight which foreign companies have exhibited at ITCN Asia 2013? Apart from Texpo, the Platinum partner at the event and a company managed by a Pakistani, I have not noticed any foreign presence. The event organizers shy away from sharing exhibitor list or provide exhibitor directory (like Gitex does, for example) – so its hard to ascertain whether there was any direct foreign presence or not. Mind you, a company that has operations in Pakistan and UAE is not a foreign company.

    The success ratio of any event like ITCN Asia is calculated from repeat exhibitors and the business generated by the exhibitors. Unfortunately, both figures are not shared publicly either by the hosts or participants. Personally, I found the repeats to be less than 40%.

    I am not against shows like ITCN. However, the government and top tier of private sector is ignoring the thriving home based outsourcing industry. No serious attempt has been made as yet to recognize, facilitate and promote the freelances, consultants and outsourcing professionals who are either working on sites like odesk, elance, or doing personal consultancies. Shows like ITCN are PR attempts by companies, especially those who want to catch lucrative government contracts. I don’t see any trickle down effect.

    As for meeting with all the government officials, it does not prove anything.

  4. I’m not entirely sure about the comments been put by Kashif about the visitors. As witnessed by me, the place was heaving by people on 3rd day and the very full on the second half of the day 2 as well. It was not the crowd that mattered to me but the quality of crowd. Having been lived in Silicon Valley in California for almost 17 years, this was my first time returning back to Pakistan and part of a exhibitor team. I have had an opportunity to meet many dignitaries of Pakistan such as Assistant Governor of State Bank, CIO of State Bank, CIO of Habib Bank, CIO of Alfalah Bank, Chairman of Suparco, CIO of Lackson Investment, CFO of HUF, CTO of National Bank of Pakistan, IT team of UBL, IT team of PPL, Minister of IT and Education of KPK, CEO of Intel and many more which I don’t remember by heart. Its so encouraging to see these C-Level executives.

    The thing is this that we all must see things in a positive way, it’s a miracle that international companies are still coming even amongst all the odds of Pakistan and that is nothing because of Pakistan but those Pakistani’s who holds a credible record outside Pakistan and all the big silicon companies admire their brain. The need of the time is this that we must keep putting these kind of small and big shows to make our existing alive. Whereas I admire the freedom of speech very much I would have appreciated the fact to read the more positiveness about the show to give a message to the rest of the world that ‘We, as nation, never give up’ and striving towards the excellence along with the rest of the world.


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