July 5th, 2012
01:10 PM GMT
Which cities can boast more than a dozen bagpipe factories? Edinburgh? Glasgow? How about, Sialkot, Pakistan?
Sialkot is located in north-east Pakistan, some 125 kilometers from the capital Lahore. Legend has it that the city started making bagpipes during the British Raj, when a Scottish businessman came to town and set up a factory.
More than a century later Sialkot is one of the world’s biggest manufacturers of bagpipes, with more than a dozen bagpipe factories, both big and small.
The bagpipe business became so successful that manufacturers started making and exporting other specialty items - including staples of American culture such as vintage basketballs, American footballs and even replica civil war uniforms.
Today the city manufactures hundreds of items. Sports companies such as Nike and Adidas make their soccer balls here. Dozens of kinds of musical instrument, and even surgical equipment, are made in Sialkot.
Naeem Qureshi, of the Sialkot chamber of commerce, told CNN’s Reza Sayeh that the city's exports are increasing, and are now worth $1.4 billion.
While Pakistan often makes headlines these days because of militant attacks and extremism, local manufacturers say security concerns are overblown. Pakistan has plenty of space, as well as cheap raw materials and labor. And local businesses say Sialkot is a perfect example of why it pays to invest in Pakistan and do business there.
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