E-commerce council set to push up investments

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Saudi Gazette

JEDDAH
— The proposed council for e-commerce will increase online activities during the coming five years and will generate an income of SR60 billion to this sector, economic analysts here have said. They also stressed that this step has come to meet the international changes and will support the Saudi Vision 2030. Further it will provide an encouraging environment to investors and accelerate development in several sectors.

The council will be chaired by Minister of Trade and Investment Dr. Majed Al-Qasabi, and will have members of government agencies and three representatives of the private sector.

Tawfeeq Al-Suwailerm, director of Al-Khalij House for Economic Research and Consultation, said the 2017 Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) figures show that the value of online trade has reached 29.7 billion. The number is expected to increase by 20% a year, therefore it will reach 60 billion by 2030.

He added that last year 8 million people have purchased from online websites and applications in Saudi Arabia. The average spending is SR3,942 and females are surpassing men in online purchasing.

Government agencies and private sector companies are developing online platforms to facilitate transactions for both nationals and expatriates. Thus, Al-Suwailerm said there is an increasing demand on the human resources specialized in computer and technology.

Abdulrahman Al-Sunaie, an econometric specialist, said the development of e-commerce is one of the strategic goals of the National Transformation Program 2020 and it is one of the main sectors supporting the Saudi Vision 2030. The council will support exchange of goods with other countries, attract investment and will develop local products to reach the required quality and speed in performance.

Samir Hawari, a businessman, said that the number of Internet users in the Kingdom has increased to 26 million individuals. This indicates that e-commerce is of high importance in the coming period specially that the spread of Internet has jumped from 64 percent in 2014 to 82 percent in 2017.

Two-thirds of the spending on e-commerce goes to services and the majority of this goes to travel services according to a CITC report. Hawari said the sector will enhance GDP, provide job opportunities, attract investment, support entrepreneurship and innovation, and strengthen indigenous manufacturing.

E-commercial, he added, is one of the fastest growing sectors in the Kingdom thanks to the spread of Internet and the availability of smartphones and tablets.


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