More than SR200 billion ($53.33 billion) has been invested in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector in Saudi Arabia, helping create 60,000 new jobs, a report said. The investment has reflected positively on the kingdom’s GDP with revenues reaching around SR50 billion every year, the report from STC said.
The report highlighted the growth in expenditure on information technology in Saudi Arabia, compared to levels achieved in other developed countries, such as Australia, as well as those in China, India, Chile, Malaysia and Mexico. The telecommunication sector represents 2 per cent of the total GDP in Saudi Arabia, it said.
According to the report, the accelerated growth in telecommunications and information technology investments provide huge economic benefits. The entry of e-commerce platforms and the use of broadband applications (33 fixed broadbands for every 100 homes in Saudi Arabia) have demonstrated the strength of the Saudi market, it said.
Interestingly, according to the report, the performance of the kingdom in E-banking services is close to the levels of some southern European countries. A survey conducted by the Communication and Information Technology Commission found that 35 per cent of those surveyed bought goods and service over the internet.
The report pointed to distinguishing patterns of behaviour between males and females in internet usage. For example, males prefer using the internet for services that facilitate planning their journeys and purchasing cars, while females prefer to use it for healthcare and educational services.
More than 50 per cent of those surveyed agreed that they couldn't live without the internet, while the percentage of those who consider the internet as necessary as electricity increased more among the youth, thus positively impacting social relationships in the kingdom, it said.
According to International Telecommunication Union, internet penetration in Saudi Arabia has reached 41 per cent while mobile phones subscriptions have grown by three times over the past five years. The report was prepared by STC in cooperation with specialist international experts in telecommunication.
STC Group CEO Eng Saud Al Dweesh said ICT has made the world 'a Global village', linked people everywhere, and modified the way we watch the TV, purchase books, learn and communicate socially.