Saudi Arabian IT investment draws global acclaim

GITEX Saudi Arabia 2007 opens today with 90,000-plus visitors expected to descend on the halls during the course of the next five days. More than 600 companies are represented at the show across 300-plus stands.

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By  Stuart Wilson Published  April 15, 2007

GITEX Saudi Arabia 2007 opens today with 90,000-plus visitors expected to descend on the halls during the course of the next five days. More than 600 companies are represented at the show across 300-plus stands. Saudi Arabia has embarked on a period of sustained ICT investment and international vendors, service providers and in-country partners are eager to capitalise on the strong market growth. Research houses estimate that 1.3 million PC units will be shipped in Saudi Arabia during 2007 - a 25% jump on the previous year. Analysts at IDC now contend that the Kingdom accounts for 45% of all IT spending in the GCC. This puts the potential value of the market at an incredible US$4.5 billion for 2007. Little wonder therefore that this year’s GITEX Saudi Arabia is a sell out event. “High oil prices helped boost government spending on IT [in 2006], which had repercussions in other government controlled or influenced industries like oil and gas, transportation, and utilities,” explained Philip van Heerden, programme manager at IDC MEA. With global IT giants scouring the world for growth opportunities, the Saudi market has also attracted significant inward investment. A flurry of deals are expected at this year’s show with Saudi manufacturing specialist AEC expected to seal a deal with Indian technology giant HCL to offer integrated IT management solutions in KSA. Show organiser REC has also indicated that next year’s event will take place at the newly constructed King Abdul Aziz International Conference Centre.

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