Posts Tagged ‘ecommerce

08, its back – Abid Beli speaks up! Exclusive interview

“We haven’t done any fraud, nor have we cheated anyone out of their money!”

In a strange turn of events, eTech Pakistan, the new company that took over Beli’s City and was to launch Pakistan’s largest ecommerce store under the name of, well…..turns out is back, and its back under its own brand name!

Although now a part of eTech Pakistan, it retains it’s identity and is gearing up gradually for a relaunch.

“From my conversation with Mr. Beli, seems theyre coming back Bigger, Better & Bolder.”

Even stranger was that I was contacted by Mr. Abid Beli himself after he’d gone through the previous blog entry and he wanted to clarify certain claims that people had made against him, so we had a little “online interview”, giving him a chance to clear certain things that were being said by various people.

“We’re coming back, stronger than ever and inshAllah (god willing) we’re retain our #1 status in the ecommerce market in Pakistan”, said Abid Beli.

Upon me inquiring him regarding the reasons behind the website being shut down and all offices being closed, he replied:

“Basically the investor we had in Dubai wanted to gain partnership in Belis City, but I didn’t really want to work with him in that way, because I didn’t really want any partners in Belis City. As me and my family were settled in Dubai at the time, this individual had kept my passport as a security measure, and he threatened to give the passport to immigration and put in complaints if his invested amount was not returned within one day!

Given the circumstances I had to sell all stock ready there and also other things to try and repay the amount, but still after that he was not happy and I had to take my family and come back to Karachi! I was contacted by the person again and threatened that if he gets to me, then me and my family will definitely pay with our lives.

I had no other choice but to take my family and go into hiding for a while. I came back into the city and by then, due to one reason or another, the set up in Karachi had already been sold and eaten up by the people left behind. I don’t want to point any fingers or say why they did it, but I guess they thought that now I’m stuck and this is the best thing to do!

Well now that my family is in a safe place, I am myself back in Karachi, settling vendors amounts and everything.”

Me: So what about the employees of yours that say you had not paid salaries and cheated them of their money?

Abid Beli: “The only salaries I have not paid were of 3 employees, and even that because they had loans of triple the amount of their salaries pending with me! I also have not done any fraud with anyone, I have not cheated any dealer or vendor of any amount, even now that I’m back all settlements are being done in an installment manner agreed to by all the people.”

“The only mistake that I’ve made is that I wanted to take a web-based Pakistani company into an international market, even though I knew that the same Pakistani vendors would be the ones to pull the ground away from beneath my feet.”

Me: So you’re settling the amounts of all vendors etc who you owe in installments, and theyve agreed to it. No fraud cases?

Abid Beli: Whatever I owe I am here to pay it back as per their own agreements through installments. But people started to create cases of 3 crores rupees, then 5 crore rupees and then 2 million dollars against me! I started getting wierd calls that “what, are you going to eat up all the money on your own only?” Even the people who I thought I had good business relations with started to stab me in the back. Certain people who I had close business relations with even started to call up my father and bad-mouthed him! My father’s number was spread all over the place so that he can be bothered, and people made claims that I had stolen their money and ran away!”

Me: What’s the plan now then? How will things progress? Will you reopen the retail outlet or just be a totally online business?

Abid Beli:Unfortunately the Sasi Arcade retail outlet we had in Clifton, Karachi, was taken over by someone who used to work for me. But eTech Pakistan has opened an outlet in Defence, Karachi and also under way is the opening of a Lahore office. Contact details are available on our website (

Well, that sorta concluded our “interview” with Mr. Beli, and one hopes that all the various things that people had said regarding them and the various opinions flying around have come to rest. Many questions were answered, others, if any, will be answered in due time it seems.

But for now, what we do know is that the Pakistani eCommerce pioneer is back.

From my conversation with Mr. Beli, seems theyre coming back Bigger, Better & Bolder.

Watch out… is back! 🙂


An ecommerce tragedy in Pakistan –, now eTech Pakistan

Shop Hive, Vmart, eMart, symbiospk and many more online shops or vendors….I’m sure you’ve heard of one or the other, or have come across a new one every few weeks. came around and was the trendsetter that paved the way for all the other online shopping websites

Over 7 – 8 years ago non of them existed, and full-fledged online shopping websites were really unheard of in Pakistan. Somewhere around 2000 – 2001, came around and was the trendsetter that paved the way for all the previously mentioned websites.

Named after the founder / owner of this web based (and retail) business, Mr. Abid Beli (hence Beli’s city), this website was the first to actually offer a full online shopping experience for the people in Pakistan. During the times that various websites used to offer “online catalogs” or just products without pricing so that “we can attract the customer and then we’ll bag em over the phone”, Belis city came about as a complete web based shopping solution, mostly geared towards tech products like computers, notebooks, cameras etc.

This (passive) ecommerce store had more details about the cell phones along with pricing etc on its own website than the likes of Mobile Zone and others who actually owned the franchises for the cell phones, and from whom Belis City had gotten an e-franchise from.

After a few years the shop even went ahead to open a retail outlet on main Clifton road in Karachi, and hence further cemented people’s trust in a much more tangible version of the “online shop”. Wasn’t long after, that Belis City also went ahead to open a branch in Dubai, UAE, which one guesses was a strategic step in order for them to actually provide customers with fast availability of products which would be unavailable in Pakistan by purchasing them from Dubai and sending them to Pakistan for the customer in a cheaper manner.

Growing from humble beginnings and a few hundred products only, Belis City had gotten to 5000+ products, including not only the latest PCs, Laptops, cameras, mobile phones, gadgetry, but also gift items, children’s toys, perfumes, watches and even cars! was out to become the Pakistani equivalent of Amazon ( and nothing seemed to be standing in the way!

On many a occasion when I had purchased things like printers or any other items from them, their services had always been satisfactory and I even once had the amazing experience of having a purchased item dropped to my office within a few hours of ordering it online! I was told that “since you were close to our retail outlet anyway, we thought why not just go ahead and get it to you as early as possible!” Yes….I ordered online, and the item was hand-delivered to me in a few hours…and I had to tie my jaw with a piece of string since it kept falling back open in disbelief.

So when this “founding father of ecommerce” in Pakistan as I dubbed them, suddenly disappeared off the internet and the face of Karachi within a week….one can imagine… the insane amount of string I had to use to keep my jaw from falling back open!

Rumors of embezzlement besides others flew around as the website suddenly went down, the retail outlet was found to be empty and padlocked, and no phone numbers worked or non of the staff that provided me the amazing service was anywhere to be found.

Having known Mr. Beli since over 12 years personally, I tried to get in touch with him to get to the bottom of it all but to no avail. One couldn’t tell how everything that seemed to be going so well turned so sour suddenly and all had gone down the drain.

Well now, after almost a month or more of performing the disappearing act (during which the website seemed to be coming back alive slowly and gradually) Belis City is back! Granted it is now no longer run by Mr. Beli himself (or so it seems), it has been taken over by eTech Pakistan, part of which is Pexsol interactive, the company that had been managing the technical aspects of the website since years (since Mr. Beli and Mr. Kamran Paracha, owner of Pexsol interactive have been close friends since years).

As the official BelisCity blog’s very recent update states:


Wednesday, June 18, 2008 is now a part of eTech Pakistan – a company with a wide vision and several online ventures, including Pexsol Interactive that has been providing solutions to fortune 500 companies including Toshibe and Avaya.

The site soon will reflect a new look, a wider range of products and updated contact information. Keep reading the post for more information or contact us at


The website has somewhat of a new look (just color changes really) and is still quite empty since the graphics such as product pictures etc are still missing since the website went down.

Being in the website design / development business myself, one wonders that if the owner of Belis city had bailed and had cheated people as the rumors (or fact, I would not know) state, then why does it seem as if all the data on the website was also lost, such as the images etc and it seems that the website had taken a roll-back, such as the one windows takes when it goes back to a restore point and you lose all data after that point.

But the key point here isnt if there was a data loss, or will the new management be any good or any other thing.

The key point is that in a market where people as it is don’t really trust online vendors such as and have their reservations of ordering products without actually seeing them, touching them and knowing that theyll get what they paid for, whether now after going through the ordeal of a potential disappearance of this previously seeming unstoppable force, will they ever be able to trust them, or any other web based shopping sites in Pakistan?

One hopes that if stability for the ecommerce world in Pakistan is to be expected, that the websites people have come to trust don’t take that trust to be of no value and take care not to lose it, because it not only affects them but affects the many others who may be in the same, small, very difficult market.

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