Recent market studies indicate that the Arabian Gulf region has tremendous potential for growth in the Information Technology (IT) sector, unlike the European and US markets where a downturn has set in. This is particularly true of Saudi Arabia, which has experienced unprecedented expansion in the last few years and now accounts for 40 percent of all regional IT sales. A recent study by Frost & Sullivan puts total annual IT spending in the Gulf at $2.1 billion (excluding telecoms spending) in 2001.
Studies also indicate that available bandwidth in the Middle East grew by 154 percent to 1.9 Giga byte per second (GBPS), between August 2001 and Jan 2002. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region alone accounted for 1.08 million Internet subscribers in 2001, up by 47 percent or 348,000 subscribers since the previous year.
The advent of Internet services in Saudi Arabia has created exceptional demand for associated software, hardware and services. The Saudi market for computers, peripherals, software and IT consultancy, remains the largest in the Middle East with applications software proving to be the key high growth segment.
Accordingly, Dubai Internet City (DIC) reiterated its objective of establishing a strong regional Information Technology (IT) hub in the Gulf and Middle East by developing ties with Saudi-based companies from the private sector. The announcement was made at a press conference Monday, April 22, 2002, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where DIC is currently participating in Gitex Saudi Arabia.
“It is important to create a regional IT center and encourage a series of regional tie-ups and agreements, that will highlight increased co-operation and mutual understanding and contribute towards the progress of the IT industry in the region,” said DIC CEO Omar Bin Sulaiman. “Dubai Internet City is the ideal location for such an IT hub because we have a highly sophisticated infrastructure and a workable business environment that is highly conducive to growth,” he added.
He emphasized that the association with Saudi-based companies would strengthen DIC’s role in the region and would facilitate the formation of a strong regional IT hub. Currently there are 12 Saudi-based companies out of a total of 310 companies in the DIC community. DIC is a part of the Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone, which presently has a total of 650 companies.
Sulaiman pointed out that Saudi-based banks, financial institutions and other organizations no longer need to look to the US for world class hosting facilities because the data center at DIC can offer the same within the region. In addition, DIC has launched a fully equipped business center called FirstSteps, which offers potential investors the option of leasing a workstation to perform initial market research and feasibility studies, instead of incurring the expense of leasing an entire office. — (menareport.com)
© 2002 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )