Saudi ICT market has witnessed significant growth during the past few years with growth across almost every industry verticals. This growth is mainly due to the liberalization of the ICT market, intense competition, and dynamic demographics of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has been experiencing rapid adoption of new technologies with huge potential in VAS, online gaming, and e-commerce. The Kingdom has become one of the fastest growing IT markets in the Middle Eastern region and is projected to account for up to 50% of the total ICT investments in the GCC during 2010-2012.
Further, the Government of Saudi Arab has implemented various e-Government projects and many government projects are under development. Examples include: e-government portal, e-government network, public key infrastructure (PKI), e-government interoperability framework, national smart ID cards, e- Payment gateway (Sadad), e-Tax system, social insurance system, and electronic information exchange. Besides, numerous government services are currently available online, such as investment licenses, visa applications, traffic tickets enquiry & payment, paying passport fees, and paying utilities bills.
Moreover, overall IT spending in Saudi Arabia is set to hit US$ 5.7 Billion by the end of 2014 from around US$ 3.5 Billion in 2010, at a compound annual growth rate of around 13%. The country's per capita IT spending is expected to reach close to US$ 200 by 2014. Communications sector continues to be the largest investor in the IT industry. Besides, growing youth population is an important factor for the surging IT spending in Saudi Arabia. Additionally, the government spends much on infrastructure and education, which creates a huge demand for advanced technology and security.
According to our report "Saudi Arabia ICT Market Forecast 2014", there is still room for a better end-user experience and customization of applications, despite intense competition and price wars. It is projected that, the Saudi VAS market will witness a CAGR of around 10.6% during 2008-2015.
Although the country has a higher mobile penetration (186% as of 2010), Saudi Arabia possess huge potential for the growth of smartphones, IPTV, WiMax, and security software market. Smartphone growth in the country will be driven by various factors including user generated content, availability of local content, rapidly evolving social networking websites, rich internet applications, and gaming. It is also projected that, the Kingdom will observe rapid growth in 3G and broadband market during the next few years.