By Graham Stacey
Dubai Internet City targets Saudi in bid to establish regional IT hub
Dubai Internet City (DIC) has reaffirmed its intention to establish a strong regional IT hub in the Gulf and Middle East by developing ties with private sector companies in Saudi Arabia. The announcement was made in Riyadh where DIC took part in the recent Gitex expo. A study by Frost & Sullivan put total annual IT spending in the Gulf during 2001 at $2.1 billion (excluding telecoms spending) and Dr. Omar Bin Sulaiman, CEO Dubai Internet City, said: "The Arabian Gulf region has tremendous potential for growth in the IT sector, unlike the European and US markets where a downturn has set in".Saudi itself has experienced unprecedented expansion in the last few years and now accounts for 40 per cent of all regional IT sales. In addition, the advent of Internet services in Saudi has created exceptional demand for associated software, hardware and services. The Saudi market for computers, peripherals, software and IT consultancy, remains the largest in the Middle East with applications software proving to be the key high growth segment.He emphasised that the association with Saudi-based companies wouldstrengthen DIC's role in the region and would facilitate the formation of a strong regional IT hub."It is important to create a regional IT centre, and encourage a series of regional tie-ups and agreements, that will highlight increased co-operation and mutual understanding and contribute towards the progress of the IT industry in the region," said Dr Sulaiman. "Dubai Internet City is the ideal location."