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|29 November, 2017

Facebook, Amazon looking to invest in Saudi Arabia - regulator

Saudi Arabia’s communications and technology sector has attracted the interest of international companies looking to invest in the kingdom, a senior official has said

Saudi Arabia’s communications and technology sector has attracted the interest of international companies looking to invest in the kingdom, a senior official has said.

Global firms including Facebook and Amazon have applied for requests to enter the Saudi market, along with other international companies looking to invest in cloud computing, Abdul Aziz Al-Ruwais, governor of the Saudi Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) was quoted as saying in Arabic newspaper Al-Eqtisadiah last week.

When contacted by Zawya, a spokesman for Amazon said that it did not comment on speculation. Facebook did not respond to a request for comment.

According to an email sent in Arabic by CITC to Zawya, Al-Ruwais said that spending on the communications and information technology sector increased by 8 percent in 2016 to reach $35 billion. Speaking at a regional forum held in Riyadh last week, he also said that spending on the sector will further increase to $36.8 billion by the end of 2017.

The governor added that the sector contributed 6 percent to GDP last year, and that the kingdom has one of the world’s highest mobile penetration rates in the world, at 151 percent in 2016.

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The regulator had earlier estimated that the Saudi e-commerce market is worth $8 billion, with the average online shopper spending an average of 4,000 Saudi riyals annually, spurred by increasing broadband and smartphone penetration rates.

CITC this year took several decisions to to adopt advanced policies in the communication and information technology sector and to provide better services for users, including lifting the ban on applications that provide voice and video calls through the internet:

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© ZAWYA 2017

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