Middle east IT demand soars, says Austrade

The Middle East is second only to China in new computer purchases yet is a market often overlooked for the brights lights of the US and Europe.

According to the Australian Trade Commission (Austrade) the Middle East has experienced a ten-fold increase in the IT&T sector since 1997.

Industry analysts estimate the overall Saudi market for computer software and related services at $US260 million in 2000, but the fastest growing sector in the region is telecommunications.

To position itself as a regional technology hub, Dubai features "Internet" city, a tax-free zone designed to attract new economy companies to the region.

Seeking opportunities for Australian companies the Minister for IT, Senator Richard Alston is leading an Austrade mission to the region from April 23 to May 6, 2001.

Austrade is recruiting mission participants; interested companies should call Mark Johnson on (02) 6201 7342.

Austrade spokeswoman Tanya Lim said Australia has real capabilities to capture this rapidly emerging region but has to act quickly.

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