With the start of the new academic year, the Saudi IT and communications sector registered a fast growth, especially as the Kingdom has resorted to distance learning due to the exceptional circumstances imposed by Covid-19.
Technology companies specialized in providing programs and solutions for electronic networks have seen an increased demand on their products for the educational, private and public sectors.
During the lockdown, various government agencies have relied on the Internet by more than 95% to ensure business continuity and avoid disruption. The volume of electronic information exchange between government agencies, according to the latest published statistics, recorded 143 million operations in April, an increase of about 70 percent over the same period last year.
Market insiders say that the sales of tablets of various forms and printers exceeded all expectations. This prompted major companies to order additional quantities for some electronic products from international suppliers.
The rising demand for technology is an indication that Saudi Arabia is undergoing a qualitative leap in both the public and private sectors, in line with Vision 2030, which, among its many goals, aims to transform the Kingdom into an international hub for information and communication technology.
Sources expected that the coming days will witness the announcement of a number of new investments in the main and support sectors in communications and IT, which will focus on providing support and assistance in the towers, in addition to telecommunications services.
According to the latest statistics announced in 2017, there are around 38,000 towers, with an investment size of more than $4.5 billion, serving the mobile phone networks, data services and wireless broadband.
The development of distance learning and the increasing demand for technology come in parallel with the growth of the digital economy in Saudi Arabia with a performance rate of 2.5 percent compared to the traditional economy. This heralds great investments that will enter the Saudi market through this sector.
The size of the e-commerce market around the world is about USD 30 trillion dollars and reaches about 80 billion riyals (USD 21 billion) within the Kingdom.
In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, Marwan Al-Sharif, a specialist in economic affairs, noted that rapid transfers in the field of technology have created new patterns of learning and self-education, known as distance learning, which mainly depends on technology and smart devices in virtual classrooms.
Telecommunications companies have succeeded, according to Al-Sharif, in providing efficient educational platforms. This is a proof that Saudi companies possess the integrated infrastructure that enabled them to overcome the most difficult stages during the total curfew period, he underlined.