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In the power sector, there is the China Dongfang Electric Corp, the Central China Power Group Intl, the China Gezhouba Group, China National Electric, the China Zhongyuan Engineering Group, and the National China International Electric Power Corp.

A large portion of the 750 Chinese companies operating in Pakistan have not provided any description of the industry they serve or the projects they are working on.

However, some interesting data they shared with me was the number of locally registered companies with Chinese nationals as directors: 667 in total.

The breakup of industries in which these companies are operating is given below. Sectors in which there are four or less companies involved have been omitted.

Of the 667 companies, 77 are involved in import and export. No further details were provided as to the nature of the goods being moved. Another 75 are involved in trading, 63 companies are involved in construction, 53 in mining and quarrying, 34 are working on power generation, 22 in engineering, 15 in alternate energy, and 13 in fuel and energy.

There are a combined 41 entities involved in communications and telecommunications. The difference between these two categories was unspecified.

There are seven companies each in the following sectors: transport, food and beverages, steel, pharmaceuticals, healthcare and agricultural farming.

Forty-four companies provide consultancy services, whereas 10 are involved in Information Technology. There are six companies engaged in real estate development and five in oil and gas exploration. At the same time, 16 are working in textiles, 11 in electrical goods and 12 in automobile accessories and parts. And a combined 17 companies work in minerals and chemicals.

Of the companies listed, 337 have their registered offices in Islamabad, followed by 153 in Lahore. Karachi is third with 104, followed by 17 in Faisalabad, 16 in Multan and seven in Peshawar.

A surprising omission is Sialkot.

As far as personnel are concerned, there are reportedly 10,000 Chinese people in the Punjab. While the Ministry of Interior is sure to have more precise numbers, they are tightlipped and unwilling to offer any pertinent information. Most of these 10,000 Chinese visitors are not only consultants and experts, but regular office staff, at the junior, mid and senior levels. The preferred mode of business is outsourcing to locals.

The most telling aspect in writing this piece was the realisation that all data related to Chinese businesses in Pakistan is either not consolidated in one place, or is incomplete. This lends credence to the suspicion harboured among many that the government is not being transparent in its dealings with China, not just under the CPEC umbrella but otherwise as well. At the very least, government institutions such as the SECP, the Board of Investment and the Planning Commission should be forthcoming in sharing their details, as this will go a long way in allaying public concerns.

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