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Saudi IT budgets sky high for 2006

The Kingdom’s IT community will be out in force on April 23 as the region’s largest market gears up for Gitex Saudi.

The Kingdom’s IT community will be out in force on April 23 as the region’s largest market gears up for Gitex Saudi.

Saudi Arabia’s appetite for IT investment is stronger than ever. From consumers clamouring for the very latest in digital devices through to high-profile enterprise infrastructure and application projects, the Kingdom has embarked on an IT spending frenzy.

Essam Al Bakr, vice president at Saudi IT services specialist Digicom, expects IT spending in the Kingdom to soar above the US$6 billion mark in 2006, up from analyst estimates of US$3.2 billion for 2005.

Accounting for some 80% of the Gulf’s overall technology spend and driven by massive public sector investment, the Kingdom represents an incredible growth opportunity for international vendors and their partners, making this year's Gitex Saudi Arabia 2006 a ‘must attend’ event for IT vendors, solution providers, resellers and industry professionals wanting to maximise their market share and tap into a golden opportunity for sales growth.

“Capital expenditure is at an all time high in Saudi Arabia,” explains Todd McGregor, managing director at research house Forrester’s Middle East operation. “Enterprise applications have long been the flavour of the day and now the infrastructure investment is catching up.”

The introduction of new telecommunications operators in the Kingdom, coupled with a buoyant national economy and increased levels of internet penetration, means that the consumer market for IT products is also witnessing an unprecedented surge in demand. “For 2006, the Kingdom remains the fastest growing market in the region,” says Anil Gandhi, personal systems group general manager at HP Middle East. Retailers such as Jarir, Extra and CompuME are all investing heavily to expand their presence and reach. Vendors from across the globe will fly into Riyadh this year, looking for in-country partners to work with in the Kingdom. Technology spend is soaring, the IT sector is buzzing and Gitex Saudi Arabia is the place to be come April 23rd.

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