Saudi PC plan in the pipeline

The Saudi Arabian Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) looks set to embark on an ambitious ‘PCs for Homes’ initiative with a high-flying target of bringing PC ownership to a million more families in the Kingdom during the next five years.

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By  Stuart Wilson Published  July 19, 2004

The Saudi Arabian Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) looks set to embark on an ambitious ‘PCs for Homes’ initiative with a high-flying target of bringing PC ownership to a million more families in the Kingdom during the next five years, according to local reports. Local assemblers and international PC vendors alike will be keen to snap up a slice of this lucrative contract. Working in association with numerous companies — possibly including banks, utility companies, Saudi Etisalat and a number of global PC assemblers — the plan is to make affordable PC ownership a reality for a wider proportion of the population and increase IT awareness in the Kingdom. While the one million target looks ambitious, this project will certainly be a healthy injection of business for vendors providing the PCs. Scheduled to start in early 2005, the scheme will offer PC ownership for an upfront price of SR2,200 (US$590) or SR2,400 (US$640) for those wanting to pay in installments over two years. Financing schemes to include the installment payments as part of utility bills for electricity or telephone services are also planned according to Saudi sources. The scheme also hopes to encourage growth in the production of IT goods in Saudi Arabia. HP opened its assembly plant in Saudi Arabia earlier this year and the vendor has admitted it is currently in negotiations concerning this initiative although nothing has yet been finalised. While HP looks a strong favourite thanks to its Saudi assembly facility, other global PC vendors are also examining the potential for involvement as a supplier.

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