The video above shows entrepreneurial experience of the two founders, Jan Paul Vegt and Liu Yong Gao, which is exactly what entrepreneurs around the world go through when taking a difficult decision. Being part of a budding tech-entrepreneurial ecosystem in Karachi I can feel their pain and how much difficult it was to risk taking a new path.
To briefly explain, these entrepreneurs have Rotterdam (Netherlands) based company that exports organic baby food to China. The air transport is too costly for their business and their orders via sea were delayed by two months due to fog. Considering these challenges, they decided to go with railway. Despite the fact Rotterdam is not fully connected with China through railway and most trains from China stop at Germany, railway still proves cheaper than air transport and one month faster than sea transport. For these entrepreneurs, and any other around the world, the best thing is to find the right balance between cost and benefits while guaranteeing delivery of products and services.
This decision does exactly that. It reduces the logistic cost by half compared to air freight and also prevent delays to delivery of products and services. It is not just limited to Jan and Liu only, there are many other entrepreneurs who are facing the same challenges in logistics. With an active railroad connected to European rail network, a third and reliable route opens up that will solve major logistics issue, bringing down cost of business. It will also allow travel options to and from China, giving a boost to both business travels and tourism.
With just sea and air freight, the trade volume between Europe and China is about half a trillion Euro and has been growing steadily. It is likely to touch 650 billion Euros by year 2020 and to facilitate this growth the additional route of rail will be key component.
The implications of this decision are quite significant. For example, China manufactures products for entrepreneurs and businesses from around the world. Innovative startups from incubators like Startup Chile/Y-Combinator and those who run campaigns on Kickstarter/Indiegogo get manufacturing done from China and deliver the products globally. There will be major cost saving benefits with the use of rail network and many other locations will also open up from where the train passes through. By extending the network into South Asia and South-East Asia, through the upcoming CPEC and BCIM corridors, the trade volume will increase even more significantly. The South Asian and South-East Asian markets will further open up to European trade and entrepreneurs and small scale businesses stand to benefit with this connectivity. This will allow innovators from Asia to take advantage of a more connected route and a much more reliable logistics system.
Which means an innovator from Pakistan can get products made in China and have them delivered in Europe and Asia at lower cost and much more convenience. It will also bypass some of the trade barriers that make it difficult to do business between Asian countries and with Europe.
The benefits of this are immense and with growing global trade, the opportunities for innovators, entrepreneurs and global businesses will only get better.
I received an email from Creative Jin on Saturday morning for an event at Expo Center at 7:30 pm. I was busy in the afternoon working on my thesis presentation that I emailed to university management around 3 pm. I had to attend a meeting at 6 pm after which I headed out for Expo Center and reached the venue on time to attend the launch of new branchless banking product from Zong and Askari Bank (pictures and video included towards the end).
While I was attending India-Pakistan Social Media Mela this weekend, I got a message on Facebook from an old acquaintance Umer Dawood. What followed up was an invite to Nokia’s App Summit (16 – 17 July 2012) as a blogger and I happily accepted it. I am always interested in telecom and social media, so it was a golden opportunity for me to enjoy two of my favorite topics in such a short time. Continue reading
That’s right, for the first time I watched LIVE launch of space shuttle even if it was through NASA website that provided excellent HD streaming (with some lag as thousands of people were online watching the same stream). While online at Google+, I was waiting for Trey Ratcliff (from StuckInCustoms.com) who was at the launch site and had planned for LIVE hangout of the event when suddenly I came across a post where it detailed that Google Earth will also cover the flight of shuttle through LIVE feeds from NASA. Continue reading
I survived TEDxKarachi. Not because of any bomb blast or Imran Khan’s speech (to me one politician is just like any another politician but the philanthropist Imran Khan is highly respectful personality for me) but the fact that I volunteered for the event despite strong fever, saw it to the end … I consider myself a proud survivor who was part of the TED factor.
It was a surprise for me when I received email that I was selected as a volunteer and reported on 26th at the venue for introduction and instructions. I received TEDxKarachi T-shirt with a “Made in Pakistan” tag and got the chance to hear Fasi Zaka, Dr. Quratulaine Bakhteari, Sarmad Tariq and Noori rehearsing before I returned home. Continue reading
As I learned from my friend Umair (umuj), there are many people who are unaware of Thunder’s capabilities … perhaps don’t even know that it exists. It is a matter of interest as I should say that many people don’t care what the armed forces are doing.
For that reason I am posting the details of the project for reference and information. The reference sites are
The following information is courtesy to these sites and their members.
The project started in 1992 by China Aerotechnology import and export corporation. It’s name was Super7. They invited Pakistan to invest in the project with 50% rights to the whole project. In 1994 Pakistan joined the project but no concrete development took place until 1999. From then, in a matter of 4 years, the project showed its success with the maiden flight of Thunder.
The project cost about $450-$500 Million and the cost of one single aircraft would be around $20 Million. Comparing with other aircrafts in the market, this aircraft in this price range has a good potential for export.
5 prototypes were built, each one for a different kind of testing. First and third were for flight testing, rest of the three were for ground testing.
In 1999 this project was renamed to represent both the countries. China named it “FC-1” (Fighter China – 1) while Pakistan named it “JF-17” (Joint Fighter – 17) and codenamed it “Thunder”.
Max Speed : Mach 1.8 (Mach 1 equals speed of sound)
Max weapon payload : 3,600 kg
Operation radius : 1,355 km (in case of air to air refueling, 3,000+ km)
Service ceiling : 20,500 meters
Engine : RD-93 (Chinese upgrade of Russian RD-33 that is used in Mig-29)
The first flight was made in 2003 and the final prototype was tested in 2006. Initial batch is under production of which two jets have been provided to Pakistan which made their first official flight on 23rd March 2007. They had been decorated according to the occasion and jet enthusiasts had gone crazy seeing the plane making sharper turns than the F-16s Pakistan has in its inventory.
There had been considerable speculations about the engine. It is a Russian engine and many feared that Russia would not allow it to be used by Pakistan. A plane is BUILT around its engine. Changing the engine is near impossible, unless the other engine is near identical to the previous one regarding size and strength. Only this year have these speculations cleared as Russia allowed the export of this engine to Pakistan by China. I don’t have the link to that news, once I do I will post it. The alternative to this engine is a Chinese variant named WS-13 which nearly as good as Russian engine. RD-93 is believed to be 89%-90% efficient when compared with F-16 engine.
A special thing about Thunder (one that Pakistan desperately needed) is that it is BVR capable. BVR mean “Beyond Visual Range”. This capability allows the pilot to attack a target nearly 100 km or so away. For this BVR missiles are needed. Pakistan has this capability in Thunder and the possible option for BVR missile is a newly developed and under testing missile named “SD-10” by China. Pakistan has purchased newer versions of F-16s from USA and has also expressed interest in their BVR missiles “AMRAAM”. If they are approved, PAF would be allowed to mount that missile on the new F-16s but not on Thunder due to contract as well as software restrictions and compatibility problems. India had this capability in the nineties with the purchase of Russian Sukhoi planes, one of the best planes on earth and they could shoot down PAF planes inside Pakistani territory without the need to enter into Pakistani airspace. Pakistan needed to counter this threat and in case of successful testing of SD-10 missile, this problem would be considerably solved.
For Thunder, Pakistan has ordered an Italian company to manufacture a radar specifically for JF-17. The name of the radar is “Grifo S-7 Fire Control Radar”. This radar would be inducted at a later stage.
Initial 50 planes would have Chinese radar and avionics. After that the planes would be inducted with western radar and avionics. This include Italian radar and state-of-the-art Martin Baker Seats. Not much information is available as to what Pakistan has ordered but there are speculations that Pakistan may purchase French missiles and fit them on Thunder after sorting out the compatibility issues.