Thursday, July 09, 2015

How is social media transforming house-hunting trends in Pakistan?

Thursday, July 09, 2015
The world of house-hunters has become increasingly digital in Pakistan. Long gone are the days where people would hunt for properties via classified ads. or real estate agents. This era is all about being fast-paced.

Property-seekers are going online to assist themselves in making buying and renting decisions in Pakistan. It can be attributed to the increasing internet penetration in the country, which currently stands at 30 million internet users, 15 million smartphone users and 19.6 million, active social media users.

According to ‘We are Social’, a UK based agency, there was a 72 percent growth in active social media users since 2014. A 113 percent increase was observed in the number of active mobile social media users. As a result, more property seekers are using social media via mobile Internet to search for current real estate listings.

All this points to the changing profiles of house-hunters in Pakistan. Moreover, with the millennial generation entering the house-hunting phase, they want to be able to be to do so in the quickest way possible, i.e. social media.

Whether they are on their way to work and want to search for a house, or sit comfortable in a cafe, double-checking available properties whilst they wait for friends, they can do so easily through different social media platforms, especially Facebook.

Property portals in Pakistan are very well cognizant of these facts and have built maintained a proper brand presence on all social media platforms. For instance, Pakistan’s best real estate website extensively promotes its properties on Facebook.

It has 1.4 million likes globally and receives a huge number of customer enquiries about properties from both the local Pakistani clients as well as from overseas Pakistanis through its Facebook page. This trend of customer enquiries via social media channels vouches for the fact that more and more people are shifting online.

Lastly, with the launch of 3G and 4G mobile internet services and property-seekers being pressed for time, social media will fully trump traditional methods of finding properties in Pakistan.

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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Warid and Bank Alfalah formally launch Mobile Paisa – hits over 10,000 agents across 500 cities

Thursday, July 31, 2014
Warid Telecom and Bank Alfalah Limited have announced the launch of their marketing campaign for Branchless Banking Services under the brand name “Mobile Paisa” in Pakistan. The launch of Mobile Paisa was announced earlier this year with the promise of trust and convenience.

The service is launched in collaboration with Monet (Pvt.) Limited as the technology provider, who are using the technology of Visa International, to offer branchless banking solutions to banks and telcos nationwide.

Both Warid Telecom and Bank Alfalah Limited aim to bridge the gap between banking services and consumers while providing state of the art mobile financial services, bringing convenience, reliability and security all together for their customers.

The available services include Money Transfer,Bill Payments and Customer Mobile Wallets while more services are in the pipeline for consumers, corporates and G2P which will be launched soon. The companies understand the importance of timely payments of bills and transfer of money and other financial needs of customers, hence intend to provide convenience to its consumers accordingly.

Speaking on Mobile Paisa hitting over 10,000 agents for branchless banking, Warid Telecom’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr.Muneer Farooqui said, “We are constantly growing in every aspect, Withone of the top ARPUs, our brand is acknowledged as the most reliable and transparent in the Industry. Our branchless banking brand, Mobile Paisa,  is aimedat making Mobile Financial Services effortless task for our consumers. In this era of modernization and technical development, it is essential to digitize and enhance transacting convenience through a secure and swift system. With the strong backing of the Abu Dhabi Group, we are constantly putting every effort to ensure that we remain unmatched in providing innovative services to our valuable customers. Bank Alfalah is one of the biggest banking institutions in Pakistan and this is the edge that Mobile Paisa enjoys over its competitors in this telecom-banking collaborative product.”

Commenting on Mobile Paisa, Warid Telecom’s Director Mobile Financial Services, Mr. FaisalKhan Sadozai said, “As we hit over 10,000 agents in a very short span of time, I call it the beginning. With aggressive expansion plans, we have a sound strategy towards making Mobile Paisa brand evolve and thrive in coming times. I am looking at Mobile Paisa hitting another 30,000 agents across 1,000 towns  in the very near future. Pakistan is surely a good market for branchless banking. Our key objective is to make things easier for the people while adding more possibilities through Mobile Paisa with strong focus on financial inclusion of the unbanked population of Pakistan. Mobile Paisa is set out to revolve around customer convenience and trust and we are continuously working to bring in new and exciting products for our valuable customers.”

Mehreen Ahmed, Group Head Retail South and New Initiatives who leads the branchless banking team at Bank Alfalah, commented,“Bank Alfalah is aggressively pursuing the creation of a financial ecosystem that supports innovation through technology. Mobile Paisa is yet another reiteration of our commitment to enhancing financial access and inclusion in order to reduce the gap between the ‘banked’ and the yet-to-be-banked’ in Pakistan.”

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Wateen Success Story: Naeem Zamindar

Building a billion dollar company, look at what is achieved

Strategic Realignment (2011-­‐2013)      
•    1st Debt restructuring completed             
-­‐     Reduced interest rates significantly and pushed out repayments for 3 years to give company room to stabilize and grow
•    Organizational restructuring initated      
-­‐     Current Full Time Employees 698 vs 1,356 in December 2010      
•    Long standing agreements with Warid signed off
-­‐     Bilateral payment issues settled
•    Operating costs reduced to half while increasing revenue
-­‐     Network costs reduced through renegotiations
•    Delisting and share buy-­‐back completed - Gracefully managed      
•    WiMAX consolidation and spinout
-­‐     Instead of having to shut it down, saved not only jobs but now creating a valuable business

Massive Disruption Managed (February 2012)
•    Head Office fire crisis managed
-­‐     zero loss of life, minimal impact on customers, business continuity

Business Stabilization (Current)             
•    ICH formed – $60m value (negotiated 4th largest share: after PTCL, Mobilink and Telenor)      
•    Now #2 LDI from #8 – only company with all 5 GSM operators as its customers
•    HEC long haul contract for $10m signed and delivered – connecting all the universities
•    Dominant Metro Fiber Company: 75% market share of market in 2014
with entire business of Zong and Warid and majority of new 3G metro fiber 
contracts for Telenor
•    Now #1 Enterprise fiber connectivity company from #3 with 200+ corporate
•    $15m worth of USF projects completed and in the process of completing all 
fiber projects
•    Close to breakeven on Satellite business by managing difficult legacy  supplier relationship
•    Leading cloud managed services and system integration company
•    Launched Pakistan’s first Wifi hotspot service
at airports
•    Tripled HFC triple play network revenue and made it profitable

From Negative ~$20m/annum to Positive EBITDA of ~$10m/annum

Long term Strategic Readiness
•    Current debt structuring allows financing for growth
•    Developed organizational capability around Customer Centricity to successfully manage broadband operations – USP
•    Synthesized clear strategy, focus and organizational alignment to grow billion dollar business

Naeem Zamindar's last message as Wateen CEO

I will be stepping down as CEO and Board Member of Wateen on the 31st of July.  I have loved working with all of you to turnaround Wateen!

These last 44 months have been extremely challenging but also fulfilling as we all remained united and focused on taking Wateen upward.  We worked diligently and intelligently towards making Wateen successful.  I have put together my perspective on our journey that I have already shared with you in the past, it is truly remarkable what we have achieved together.  Over the last few months I felt that we have all merged in our perspectives and finally come together and become aligned as a winning team, that we are truly standing shoulder to shoulder to making Wateen great.  Wateen is poised for great success and I am now and will always continue to be proud of you all.  You have now become a part of me and I am always available for any of you; I’m sure our paths will cross again.

I want to firstly thank HH Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan and HE Sheikh Mohammad bin Nahyan Al Nahyan for giving me this opportunity and supporting me throughout this process. They staked their money by investing around Rs. 9 billion in us to revive our company and bring it to the position where we are now poised for growth.  I thank them for the confidence in me and their trust.

I am personally grateful to the following people:
•         Zouhair A. Khaliq, who as Executive Director mentored and enabled me and is the architect of our success.
•         David Burlison for providing the operating oversight and leadership on behalf of the shareholders and guiding us in restructuring the company – he has played a critical role in our success
•         Wateen Board of Directors – whose maturity and leadership has played a very important role in providing us with the necessary corporate governance for this exceptional achievement
•         Wateen Senior Management team – each of them are exceptional and have worked together, sincerely, intelligently, maturely and diligently to get us here.  This leadership team is truly battle hardened and ready to win the war.  They are all amazing people who really care about this country, the company and its people– for them this is a work of passion and they have put their heart and soul into it

The company has a great future.  We are poised to dominate the metro fiber and enterprise connectivity business, and projects like Safe Lahore which utilize our unique capability of being able to provide end to end system integration and connectivity – we have a world beater team and assets that deliver this capability.  Building upon this infrastructure we are now using our learnings from DHA to rollout out fiber to the home and SME business to cost effectively provide our customers with true broadband services, tapping a very large business opportunity to land grab a million homes and businesses over the next few years.  On top we have a plan to leverage this network to provide carrier grade wifi and cloud services.  We are preparing to develop our international connectivity business with the prospects of getting approval to connect with our neighbors and becoming a part of the international undersea cable consortium.  And our partnership with Inov8 is leading the way in defining the new era of financial services and internet/cloud based services.

With these initiatives maturing, I am confident that Wateen will become a dominant and dynamic leader in the ICT space of Pakistan – Wateen will lead the way into making Pakistan a massively and ubiquitously connected society with bright future prospects! 

I am proud to have been a part of your success story.  May we serve our people and enable their lives :)  Ameen

I wish Rizwan Tiwana the best of success in leading Wateen to even greater success.

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Friday, June 20, 2014

Lamdui now available on Android in Pakistan

Friday, June 20, 2014

Global real estate portal Lamudi has today launched an Android app to help house hunters in Pakistan find property on the go.

The app, Lamudi: Real Estate for Sale and Rent, hosts more than 400,000 property listings from Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and Africa. The app covers 28 countries from Lamudi’s global network - including Pakistan - giving international house-hunters a free mobile platform to buy, rent or sell real estate on an Android device.

The launch of Lamudi’s Android app follows the successful roll out of the company’s iOS app in Pakistan last week. The iOS app is also currently available in Mexico, Colombia and Morocco, with more countries from the Lamudi network to be added soon.

The Lamudi apps are designed to meet the growing demand for mobile internet services in the emerging markets. The recent State of the Internet report highlighted the pace of growth for mobile in these regions. In Asia, mobile now accounts for more than a third of all internet usage.

Android remains the dominant mobile platform worldwide, according to recent figures from Statcounter. In Pakistan, Android has recently overtaken Nokia’s Series 40 as the most popular platform in the country. Android, the operating system developed by Google, now captures nearly 34 percent of the local mobile market.

Lamudi’s Co-Founder and Managing Director, Antonius Salis, said: “Android is the future of the smartphone market not just in Pakistan, but worldwide. For this reason, we have focused on rolling out the Android app to Lamudi’s 28 countries to reach the maximum number of users with our unique property platform.

The Lamudi app is a world first because of the sheer number of countries it covers in the emerging markets. So whether you are looking to invest in property in Karachi, buy a high-rise apartment in Jakarta or rent a villa in Jeddah, the Lamudi Android app helps you find your perfect property match.”

Saad Arshed, Country Manager of, said: “We had an overwhelming response to the launch of Lamudi’s iOS app last week, which just goes to show the demand that exists locally for mobile services of this kind. We are excited to now be able to bring our product to Android and to reach many more property-seekers here in Pakistan.”

Both the Android and iOS apps have customised search functions, allowing users to easily filter results by country. A key feature of the app is the match alert function, which notifies users as soon as a property that suits their needs is available in the market. Users can also create a list of favourites to bookmark properties, which can be accessed at any time and on any device.

All the listings available feature high-quality photo galleries, detailed property information, maps, and multiple contact details for property owners or agents. House-hunters can also share their favourite properties with family and friends via Facebook, Twitter or email.

 Click here to download the Lamudi Android app today!

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