Despite their interest in doing e-business, Gulf companies are slow to adopt the technological innovations required to keep up in today’s new world economy, said an official at Dubai's Technology, E-commerce and Media Free Zone.
Mohammed Al-Gergawi, chairman of Dubai Internet City (DIC), said the entire Arab region lags when it comes to electronic commerce. He said companies in the private and public sectors should double their efforts if they wish to compete in world markets that are already doing business using modern technology. Companies ignoring e-commerce are taking a risk with their ability to compete, and ultimately their survival.
Gergawi said that the optimistic predictions, that e-commerce in the Middle East would reach $3 billion by 2003, are still well behind the $1.3 trillion figure forecasted for the global e-market.
Studies predict that companies joining in on electronic commerce will triple their current value in the next few years, and that by the year 2010 e-commerce will account for 10-15 percent of the total business of large Gulf companies.
The $600 million DIC is expected to open for business in October. It is the world's first free zone enterprise for electronic commerce. Officials in Dubai hope the city would play a role in getting the Arab world to step into the new age of business technology.
More than 160 global high-tech companies, software developers and Internet service companies have been licensed to operate from of the Dubai free zone.
"A change to electronic commerce is no longer a choice but a must," Gergawi stated. "If a company wants to flourish — or even just survive — it has to make the change.” — (Albawaba-MEBG)
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