Saudi Arabia witnessing huge growth in ICT

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Saudi Arabia is emerging as one of the fastest growing Information Technology markets in the Middle East and is expected to account for up to 50% of the total Information and Communication Technology (ICT) investments in the GCC during 2010-2012.

RCONS, an industry research house said in its recent report titled “Saudi Arabia ICT Market Forecast 2014“, that the growth in ICT market is due to liberalisation of the ICT market, intense competition, and dynamic demographics of Saudi Arabia. The kingdom has been experiencing rapid adoption of new technologies with huge potential in VAS, online gaming, and e-commerce.

Saudi Arabia’s overall IT spending is set to hit $5.7 billion by the end of 2014 from around $3.5 billion in 2010, at a compound annual growth rate of around 13%.

Communications sector continues to be the largest investor in the IT industry. Growing youth population is an important factor for the surging IT spending in Saudi Arabia. Additionally, the government is spending heavily on infrastructure and education, which is creating a huge demand for advanced technologies and security.

Saudi’s huge spending on its ICT sector includes projects such as e-government portal, e-government network, public key infrastructure (PKI), e-government interoperability framework, national smart ID cards, e-Payment gateway (Sadad), e-Tax system, social insurance system, and electronic information exchange.

Numerous government services are currently available online, such as investment licenses, visa applications, traffic tickets enquiry & payment, paying passport fees, and paying utilities bills.

The report also cited that despite the country having a higher mobile penetration (186% as of 2010), Saudi Arabia still possesses huge potential for the growth of smartphones, IPTV, WiMax, and security software market. Smartphones growth in the country will be driven by various factors including user generated content, availability of local content, rapidly evolving social networking websites, rich internet applications, and gaming. It is also projected that, the kingdom will observe rapid growth in 4G and broadband market during the next few years.

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