Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Internet users have grown ten-fold in four years, according to the Dubai-based Madar Research Group. The growing popularity of the Internet in the GCC states has brought about a resultant increase in Personal Computer (PC) penetration.
Recent studies by the group estimate that the number of Internet users in the GCC countries has multiplied ten-fold in the past four years, while PC penetration has doubled during the same period. The figures also point to an unprecedented spurt in demand for PCs in the near future, going by the trend in Europe and the United States, where the Internet-to-PC penetration is in the ratio of around 1:1.
Recently released statistics indicate that in the six GCC states, there are 121 users per 100 PCs, a ratio that appears to be set to change dramatically in view of the high computer literacy in the GCC region which incidentally has more than 40 percent of all Internet users in the Arab world, though it is home to only 11 percent of the total Arab population.
The Internet spread in the GCC countries has been driven by advanced telecommunications infrastructure, high purchasing power and a government-spearheaded push towards digital economy. In 1998, GCC had just 330,000 Internet users and 1.2 million installed PCs, giving a ratio of one Internet user per 3.6 PCs. Today there are three million Internet users and 2.5 million PCs.
In comparison to the scenario in the US however, this growth is still relatively slow. The overall Internet penetration in the GCC now stands at 9.23 percent, while PC penetration is just 7.64 percent, in sharp contrast to the scene in North America where the Internet penetration is 57 percent and PC installed base is 62 percent. There are 109 PCs for every 100 users in America.
Taken individually, some GCC countries have seen a higher IT growth than others. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) leads the way in Internet penetration of around 28 percent, while Bahrain figures at the top by way of a strong PC base of 16 percent. Qatar and Kuwait have recorded an impressive growth in PC penetration, a trend that is likely to be repeated in several other Arab countries. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )