Qatar seen as the top IT market in GCC until 2017
March 09 2013 11:32 PM

By Pratap John/Chief Business Reporter


Qatar is expected to be the “fastest growing” IT market in the GCC region until 2017, which researcher BMI said will be driven by small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) that are yet to fully realise the Internet potential.

A recent Qtel (Ooredoo) survey revealed that only 60% of the SMEs in the country are currently connected to the Internet. The survey also found out some 77% of Qatari SMEs planned to increase their ICT spending, with the average increase estimated at around 20%.

“The decision to award Qatar the 2022 FIFA World Cup is expected to unleash a new wave of investment, while the government’s ICT-2015 strategy will also create opportunities.

“With its booming economy and ambitious ICT investment programme, Qatar is expected to be the fastest growing IT market in the Gulf region over BMI’s forecast period until 2017,” BMI said.

The report says that Qatar is likely to see an increase in computer hardware, software and IT service sales.

In computer hardware, the overall sale is expected to grow 5% and total QR950mn this year compared with QR903mn in 2012.

In terms of software, the sales are expected to total QR397mn in 2013, up 11% on QR357mn last year.

The IT services segment is expected to outperform others with sales estimated at QR662mn this year compared with QR564mn in 2012.

Qatar came third in BMI’s Risk/Reward Ratings (RRR) with a score of 59.7 out of 100. Only the UAE in the GCC region is ahead of Qatar in this category.

The country also ranks fifth for its “industry rewards score” of 38.1, and its overall rating was boosted by a high country rewards score of 100.

BMI said: “Qatar’s successful bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup has strengthened its ambition to become the world’s largest sporting event host and will boost the ongoing development of transport infrastructure as well as the construction of stadiums.

“Qatari corporations and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are looking to benefit from Qatar’s expected infrastructure development and rapid growth and will invest in IT to boost competitiveness.

“In its attempts to diversify the economy, the Qatari government is undertaking massive infrastructure projects, boosting fields such as construction, transport and, increasingly, tourism.

“The growth in the non-hydrocarbons sector is gathering pace and all these sectors are likely therefore to offer promise to vendors of IT hardware, software and services.”

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