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Sun 22 Sep 2013 01:03 PM

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Saudi SMEs eye regional growth

New survey shows 63 percent of SMEs in Saudi Arabia are looking to expand across region

Saudi SMEs eye regional growth
Small and medium sized enterprises in Saudi Arabia are looking to expand across the region, according to a worldwide survey.

Small and medium sized enterprises in Saudi Arabia are looking to expand across the region, according to a worldwide survey.

The survey, entitled The Oxford Economics survey SMEs: Equipped to Compete showed that 63 percent of the Kingdom’s SMEs are either making, undergoing, or have completed growth plans, with 65 percent looking to enter new geographic markets.

This is nearly double the global average of 37 percent, and the survey added that within three years no SME in the Kingdom expects to be operating solely in the country. Furthermore, the number operating in six or more countries will rise from sixteen to 41 percent.

These ambitions will reportedly be fuelled by new technology including cloud computing, which 31 percent currently use, and a projected 54 percent will use by 2016.

 Current usage of mobile technology is 37 percent, a figure due to rise to 53 percent in the same time-frame.

Other findings in the survey show that 43 percent of respondents would use social media by 2016, up from 37 percent currently, but 66 percent of SMEs claimed they would only invest in technology when there is a clear return on investment.

Rather, businesses currently prefer to invest in business management (52 percent), and business analytics (45 percent), with 37 percent making cloud computing a priority.

Ahmed Al-Faifi, managing director of business management software company SAP MENA, said: “SMEs in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are not only growing in the country and creating vital new jobs, they’re increasingly looking to expand beyond the Kingdom’s borders to seize new regional opportunities.

“Clearly much of this growth will be fuelled by technologies that increases insight, flexibility, and overall competitiveness. SMEs are vital economic engines and incubators of innovation, so the positive, progressive sentiments indicated in this study bode extremely well for the future.”