Iflix brands Pakistan ‘exemplary market’ as streaming firm plots further expansion

iFlixOnline streaming firm Iflix has described Pakistan as an “exemplary market” for the business with its population “rapidly” adopting web-based content.

The comments came after Mumbrella Asia revealed the Malaysia-based firm was poised to launch in Pakistan after recruiting a general manager to head the operation.

Farees Shah joined Iflix this month from German online fashion retailer Rocket Internet where he founded its Pakistan business, in 2012.

A spokeswoman for Iflix declined to reveal details of the Pakistan launch but confirmed it has been identified “as a key market for expansion” with almost half its 180m population either smartphone users or having Internet access.

“With nearly 40m smartphone users and well over 40 million Internet users, along with rapid growth and adoption of online content and services Pakistan is an exemplary market for us,” she said.

Asked about local partners, the spokeswoman added: “Local and strategic partnerships are a key development strategy for us in all of our markets, and we looks to continue that success in new markets as well.”

Pakistan will become Iflix’s fifth market after Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines and Indonesia, the latter of which will be led by former Emtek Group executive Cam Walker who was appointed earlier this month.

The launch in Pakistan is in line with Iflix’s strategy to expand into developing countries, with Costa Rica, Myanmar and Kenya expected to follow later this year.

Meanwhile, further details of Indonesian business will be announced “soon”, the spokeswoman said.

In an interview in 2014 while at Rocket Internet, Shah said the risks of launching in Pakistan, such as security, are often “overstated” and stressed its population was “in tune with international trends”.

“That is not very well understood,” he said. “Buying online was not an alien concept for people.”

He added there is plenty of “young, sharp talent” in Pakistan.

While at Daraz, Shah said he successfully raised two rounds of funding worth more than US$60m – something that will have impressed Iflix as it looks for investors – and grew the business from scratch to a monthly turnover of US$1m in three years.

Steve Jones


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