Arab e-Commerce to reach US $3 billion by 2003

Online transactions in the Arab world will increase almost eightfold by next year, according experts participating at Gitex Saudi Arabia, which opened at the Riyadh Exhibition Centre on Sunday and will continue until 25 April.

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By  Massoud Derhally Published  April 24, 2002

Online transactions in the Arab world will increase almost eightfold by next year, according experts participating at Gitex Saudi Arabia, which opened at the Riyadh Exhibition Centre on Sunday and will continue until 25 April.

"Arab trade currently exceeds US$250 billion, of which some US$400 million is carried out online although a substantial portion of the latter figure is through banking," explained Mohammad Al-Shammary, managing director of E-Commerce Company.

"This is expected to leap to US$3 billion by next year, reflecting the magnitude and potential for IT growth in the region," added Al Shammary.

Dr Zainal A. Ahmad, director of planning and technology at IV Malaysia, echoed al-Shammary’s comments. “Global electronic commerce holds the promise of tremendous growth and new opportunities for businesses to expand their markets," said Dr Ahmed explained. "The strongest growth will come from developing markets as these open up to new technologies," he said, adding that specific industries, in particular areas such as the service industry, have the most potential for capitalizing on the new trend.

Al-Shammary, pointed to research predicting that 85 percent of commerce and services in the world, currently valued at US$60 trillion, will find its way into cyber space. "We can already point to phenomenal growth. Global e-commerce was valued at US$367 billion in the year 2000, whereas by next year it is projected to reach US$1,234 billion - a growth of more than 300 per cent in three years."

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