January 23, 2005


U.S. Firms Pick Up Pakistan's Call for Outsource Work: American companies are finding a low-cost pool of educated English speakers that rivals neighboring India. (Evelyn Iritani, January 23, 2005, LA Times)

[J]ohn Armbruster is betting that Pakistan's attributes — including a large, low-cost pool of English speakers — point to a brighter future.

He's aiming to help the country carve out a piece of the lucrative outsourcing business dominated by its neighbor and longtime rival, India.

So far, the bet by Armbruster's company, TRG Pakistan Ltd., is paying off. It recently branched beyond its main office in Lahore and opened a second office in Karachi, the nation's commercial center. By year-end, TRG hopes to expand to 500 employees from 300 now.

"We blow India away as far as quality is concerned," said Armbruster, the company's director of operations. "The problem India has gotten into is that it has grown too fast."

Throughout the developing world, call centers are old news. But Pakistan is just getting into the game after years of economic stagnation fed by political and religious strife, as well as a dispute with India that occasionally has erupted into war.

Economic growth in Pakistan would do more to quell Islamic extremism than we could ever do militarily.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 23, 2005 9:41 AM

I thought the idea that poverty fuels terrorism was anathema to conservatives?

Posted by: Chris Durnell at January 24, 2005 11:14 AM