LONDON: A leading investment group has launched 100 iconic business in the metropolis to promote Gwadar as the investment destination and to invite attention towards the future hub of economic activity in Pakistan.Double-decker buses are running across 17 routes in London, carrying beautiful banner which reads “Gwadar: The Gteway to Emerging Pakistan”.
A port city in Balochistan province of Pakistan, Gwadar has the potential to rival Dubai.
With banners on buses plying the roads of London, the campaign is the most expensive, diverse and creative one ever run outside of Pakistan to promote Gwadar as the centre of a strategic gambit as well as Pakistan’s Dubai, being built and developed with help from China under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.
The campaign in London, sponsored by China Pak Investments Corporation (CPIC), has the potential to reach or make an impact on at least 10 million people for the month-long duration it will be featured on London buses.
One Investments Limited Chief Operating Officer Stuart Reid told Geo News in an interview that the “red Gwadar buses” have been launched in Zone 1 of Central London, the heart of the world’s financial capital, and go out till Zone 4 to celebrate Gwadar.
“It’s our estimate that at least 10 million of the world’s most influential people will see these buses whilst parading the most posh localities of Central London from Oxford Street to Park Lane and Buckingham Palace to the Houses of Parliament and Lords in Westminster,” he said. “We have put Pakistan and Gwadar on the highest platform in the most prime locality of London, the city with the world’s most billionaires, which sees over $5 trillion in daily financial transactions.”
He expressed delight at Gwadar buses generating huge response within few hours of the launch.
According to Reid, the aim of this campaign is to showcase Gwadar as the emerging trade hub of South Asia on the global platform.
Boost for economy
“Pakistan is amongst the fastest growing economies in Asia today, it is poised to become the 20th largest economy in the world by 2030 and the world should understand these facts,” he said. “The difference between Pakistan and other regional competitors today is not capability or potential but negative PR. Pakistan is a land full of opportunity and here at the CPIC we will bring these opportunities to the forefront for global investors.”
Reid said Gwadar is a city prime for global investment. He gave reference to an article published last week in The Telegraph, one of the UK’s leading publications, which said that Gwadar held the potential to the be the next Dubai.
“Looking for an economic perspective we can indeed see the parallels, Dubai’s Jebel Ali Port and Freezone generate over 22% of Dubai’s GDP creating employment for 100s of thousands of jobs,” the COO said. “Similarly, China has launched the first phase of Gwadar’s Freezone which is expected to become the busiest port in South Asia by 2022.”
Land prices in Dubai grew over 3000% in the last 20 years as it established itself as the shipping and trade hub of the Middle East. “We see Gwadar following a similar trajectory as the shipping and trade hub of South Asia.”
When asked why Gwadar campaign has been launched on London buses, Reid said that brands such as Nike, Apple and Amazon advertise on this platform. “We didn’t think there was any more suitable platform to showcase Gwadar other than alongside the world’s largest brands”.
He said that some elements are opposed to investment in Gwadar for their selfish reasons but the fact is that Gwadar’s security is in the hands of the Pakistan Army, there is not a more secure city in the entire country. “As a matter of fact Gwadar is amongst the safest cities in the world.”
Locals are heavily involved with the development of Gwadar. They are benefiting from the economic footprint of CPEC by the way of jobs at the port, education at the Chinese built schools and medical treatment at Chinese built facilities, he said.
Reid added the destiny of people of Gwadar has turned around in the last two years since China took over the port and yesterday’s sand has become today’s gold with land prices increasing 500% and land owned by locals that was worth tens of thousands of dollars is now worth millions.
He said that CPEC is holding road shows in America this week and a campaign will soon be launched in Washington and New York as well.
The road shows are being held in San Francisco, Sheraton Park Hotel at the Anaheim Resort, Houston, Dallas, New York, Renaissance New York Midtown Hotel, Chicago and Toronto.
China has committed $62 billion to the initiative under its One Belt One Road initiative to develop commercial logistics links with Europe to get access to a warm water port 350 miles from the Straits of Hormuz.