Sci & Tech

Iran is to Create a Media City

Karaj is going to become a new hub for technology companies, becoming the second such site around the capital
Iran’s Media City is to play the role of an incubator for startups active in the field of social media.Iran’s Media City is to play the role of an incubator for startups active in the field of social media.
The state is aiming to create an environment in which ICT companies and startups can thrive in

Iran’s High Council of Cyberspace is eyeing Payam Special Economic Zone, an area to the south of Karaj, as a possible candidate for the establishment of Iran’s first ‘Media City.’

The Head of the Council, Abolhassan Firouzabadi in an interview with Mehr News Agency announced the upcoming national plan earlier this week.

The government official stated that the Media City is to play the role of an incubator for “startups active in the field of social media.”

Over the past half decade, the number of Iranians active on social media applications has grown significantly; therefore, expanding and regulating the sector has been on top of the high council’s agenda.

For instance Telegram, a messaging app which some Iranians also use as a social media network has 45 million subscribers in the country, a number which has made officials wary of the social impact of the application.

Several initiatives have been issued by the state for development of indigenous messaging applications and social media websites.

Firouzabadi said, “The state is aiming to create an environment in which ICT companies and startups can thrive in.”

Payam Special Economic Zone (which is owned by the ICT ministry) is located in Alborz Province adjacent to Tehran and is currently host to electronic manufacturers producing televisions; the area also is the site of a small airport which is planned to become the capital’s third airport in the next decade.

The top ICT official also said the site was studied for the establishment of a technology hub with the emphasis on social media and networks, which would be called “Media City.”

The Payam SEZ would be the first dedicated site just for social media development. However there is no sign that foreign social media companies would enter the fray, and it is more likely the place would become another hotbed of local tech firms.

Firouzabadi noted that Payam FEZ is the best option for founding Media City since it is close to the capital and also has the required infrastructure.

The official said one of the major differences between the Media City and other technology related parks would be that “the Media City is to be content oriented. This is while other technology parks are only concerned about expansion and development of new technologies.”

 “The National Center for Cyberspace will be in charge of the project,” he said.

Earlier in July it was reported that the Ministry of Information Technology and Communications had set up a “science corridor” formally called The Center for Information and Communications Technology in Tehran and Alborz provinces. Payam SEZ has been announced as one of the telecom-related centers of the corridor as it lies near the Tehran-Karaj Highway.

Previously, another candidate was Pardis Technology Park located east of Tehran. According to Firouzabadi, the recent round of studies showed that Pardis Technology Park does not suit the project. He added, “The tech park is to be expanded and new offices and facilities are to be built there in near future.”

Iran’s Largest Internet Provider Moves to Karaj

Meanwhile, the deputy telecoms minister announced that Iran’s largest Internet service provider will transfer its call center to Karaj, just north of the Payam SEZ, according to CITNA.

The company has already expanded its presence in the satellite city by establishing several offices and moving parts of its infrastructure away from the capital to cut costs.

Financial Tribune reached out to Shatel and a company official affirmed the upcoming development. He said “The call center is being established currently in Karaj and it will be launched before the end of the current Iranian calendar year (ending March 20).”

The Ministry of ICT has been investing vastly in Alborz recently. During the last week visit of President Hassan Rouhani and Mahmoud Vaezi, Minister of ICT to Karaj nine telecom related projects were launched in the city.


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