UAE IT sector set for rapid growth, indicates Dubai Chamber report

RetailME Bureau

The UAE market is witnessing a strong increase in demand for IT products and services driven by the growth in the population and incomes of UAE residents as well as the growth in IT requirements of businesses and families together with an emphasis on innovation, states a special report released by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry analysing the trends and expectations for the UAE IT and electronics sector.

“The Chamber has played a proactive role in encouraging business in Dubai, and for the last 50 years contributed to strengthening Dubai’s position as a preferred destination for business based on knowledge and innovation. This study reaffirms Dubai Chamber’s commitment to its role as a main source of economic data and information for the private sector, and its leadership in the preparation of research, reports and studies, federal and local laws and ministerial decisions,” says Hamad Buamim, president and CEO, Dubai Chamber.

The study revealed widespread use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in the UAE has had a positive economic and social impact. According to the Network Readiness Index 2014 of the World Economic Forum’s Information Technology Report 2014, the UAE ranks very high at fourth out of 148 countries in impact of ICT of new services and products and at the second position in the impact of ICT on basic services. Internet usage is also high in the UAE with about 85% of individuals using the internet and the UAE ranking 10th in terms of business to-business internet use.

The study pointed out that the demand for computer products across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and South Asia is creating opportunities for UAE businesses to re-export to these regions. As a result, Dubai has become a leading IT hub for the MENA region and beyond with major IT companies setting their MENA regional offices in the emirate.

In its overview of the IT sector in the UAE, the study states that the UAE specialises in the sale of communications and electronics technology devices based on Euromonitor International data indicating while the UAE computer and peripheral market achieved sales volume of about 2,990 units in 2014, it is set to increase by 6.5% touching the 3,185 units-mark by 2018.

The Dubai Chamber report also mentions that based on data from China, the US, Singapore, the Netherlands and Czech Republic were major import sources in 2013, while the top export and re-export destinations during the period included Oman, Uganda, Tanzania and Saudi Arabia.

According to the report, innovations in the global IT sector have also contributed to make productivity improvements in the UAE and across the region. Current and possible future global trends that are expected to impact the UAE IT industry include cloud computing, increased mobile computing, pervasive computing – the trend of embedding micro-processors in everyday objects such as TV, fridges, microwave ovens and cars so that these objects can communicate with each other – and robotics.

Spending on cloud computing, in which computing services such as servers, storage and applications are delivered to an organisation through internet services, is increasing in the UAE according to research firm IDC, while mobile computing devices are also experiencing growing demand. In the future, the advent of pervasive computing and furthermore robotics could change the way people work and live and would improve efficiency across the UAE economy, the report adds.

With the high importance given to innovation in the UAE, coupled with a strong IT and internet infrastructure, the UAE is well placed to be the hub for global businesses focused on new IT products and services to the GCC, the MENA region and Africa, the report asserts.