ISLAMABAD -  Five mobile phone companies, anticipating Pakistan as potential market, have sought approval from the government to establish assembly lines in the country.

In this regard, the companies have submitted applications and once authorised, the move will attract huge Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and help decrease mobile phone imports. The companies seeking approval to establish assembly lines are Haier, Mobo Mobiles, G-5, Foxconn and Jio Phone.

Propakistani, a web portal, on Friday reported that Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) was hoping companies would start operations soon. An official from the authority said, "We expect these companies to start manufacturing mobile phones in their plants soon."

Recognising the growing market, the official said mobile phone users in Pakistan are fast shifting to hi-tech products, and of the 24 million mobile sets being imported in a year, almost half are smartphones. Guidelines were issued by PTA to attract foreign investments from mobile companies. This is an attempt to bring down prices of smartphones as their demand is continuously increasing.

Until now, China has been home to big companies' assembly lines like thanks to its cheap labour. This has added a significant amount to country's economy; however, as exports have increased in China, prices of labour have also gone up. As a result, companies are now looking for other similar market like Pakistan.