According to media reports, Chinese companies are taking keen interest in snapping up businesses opportunities in Pakistan after signing two major deals in the recent months. The firms are interested in cement, steel, energy and textile sectors, as part of global trade network under Beijing’s One Belt, One Road project. Pakistan has emerged the key player of the Chinese government’s road network and investment plan. Beijing has bought 40 percent stakes in the Pakistan Stock Exchange and the Shanghai Electric Power has acquired K-Electric for $1.8 billion. The Pakistani firms are also ready to collaborate with Chinese investors to launch joint ventures in various sectors, including a $2 billion K-Electric expansion plan in the coming years. China’s steel giant Baosteel Group is keen to acquire state-run Pakistan Steel Mills on a 30-year lease. The foreign direct investment reached $1.9 billion during the last fiscal year though it is far below $5.4 billion FDI the country attracted around 10 years ago.The government will have to revisit its policy as to why western countries are keen to invest in Vietnam and Malaysia instead of Pakistan. It is the failure of the foreign missions which could not present the soft image of Pakistan and a land of opportunities for foreign investors.
Pakistan needs financial integration not only with China but also with Iran which has opened up its economy to foreign investors. Germany and India are finding business opportunities in Iran and Pakistan needs to take its share of business there. Unfortunately, reports appear in the media that Iran is likely to cancel Pakistan Iran Gas Pipeline deal after Islamabad’s reluctance to continue the project. China is going to shift its small industrial units to Bangladesh and the two countries have recently signed a deal in this regard. However, some Pakistani entrepreneurs are fearing Chinese investment in infrastructural projects will shift the local business to the Chinese enterprises. The government must look into the economic affairs from this angle too, but experts reject any harmful effectsof Chinese investment in Pakistan. The days of close economy are over and it is time the local businessmen should also adopt modern techniques to contest their Chinese counterparts in the fields and not in law books. The working class in Pakistan also fears of the growing Chinese investment, but the government should find a reasonable solution to maintain a balance between Chinese entrepreneurs and local workforce.
The employees who are work-shy cannot be tolerated in any commercial organization whether it is local or foreign. Therefore, those who are good workers should not fear any hostile reaction from Chinese. It is not easy to start work on a foreign land and if Chinese are willing to do this in Pakistan, they should be welcomed with open arms and open heart.