Heavy investment in Saudi IT sector reaping widespread benefits

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Saudi Arabia has invested more than SR200 billion ($53.33 billion) in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector which created around 60,000 new jobs, a report from STC said adding that the heavy investment has had a positive impact on the kingdom’s GDP, fetching around SR50 billion in revenues every year.

The report highlighted the increase in information technology spending in Saudi Arabia, and compared it to levels achieved in other developed and developing countries, such as Australia, China, India, Chile, Malaysia and Mexico. The findings added that telecommunication sector represents 2% of Saudi Arabia’s total GDP.

According to the report, the country enjoyed huge economic benefits from accelerated growth in telecommunications and information technology, thanks to large-scale investment. It also noted that the entry of e-commerce platforms and the use of broadband applications (33 fixed broadband connections for every 100 homes in Saudi Arabia) shows the strength of the Saudi IT market.

A survey conducted recently by the Communication and Information Technology Commission found that 35% of those surveyed bought goods and services over the internet.

The report also disclosed some interesting consumer behavioural patterns between males and females when it comes to internet usage. As per the findings, males prefer using the internet to facilitate planning their journeys and purchasing cars, while females are more inclined to use it for healthcare and educational services.

More than 50% of survey respondents said they couldn’t live without the internet, while the bulk of those who consider the internet as necessary as electricity came from the youth.

According to International Telecommunication Union, internet penetration in Saudi Arabia peaked 41% while mobile phones subscriptions have trebled during the last five years. The report was prepared by Saudi Telecommunications (STC) in collaboration with international telecommunication experts.

Eng Saud Al Dweesh, STC Group CEO, 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.

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