Saudi SMEs gear up for regional growth
Riyadh, September 22, 2013
Small- and medium-sized enterprises in Saudi Arabia are gearing up for a technology-fuelled expansion drive across the region, according to a new worldwide survey.
To become more competitive and help drive job creation in the region, nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) of the kingdom's SMEs have either completed, are undergoing, or are planning a business transformation, according to the new Oxford Economics survey ‘SMEs: Equipped to Compete.’
Of those, about two-thirds (65 per cent) are planning to enter new geographic markets, nearly double the global average of 37 per cent. In three years, no SME in the kingdom expects to be operating solely in the country, whereas the number operating in six or more countries will rise from 16 to 41 per cent, it said.
About 31 per cent of SMEs said they use cloud computing, but that is projected to skyrocket to 54 per cent in three years – a growth rate of 72.4 per cent.
In addition, 37 per cent said they used mobile technology now – a figure set to rise to 53 per cent in three years.
The importance of social media is also on the rise with 37 per cent currently using it, and 43 saying they will use it during the next three years.
According to the survey, 66 per cent of Saudi SMEs claimed that they would only invest in technology when there is a clear return on investment (ROI).
Their current investment priority is software related to business management (52 per cent), business analytics (45 per cent) and cloud computing (37 per cent), it said.
“SMEs in Saudi Arabia are not only growing in the country and creating vital new jobs, they're increasingly looking to expand beyond the Kingdom's borders to seize new regional opportunities,” said Ahmed Al-Faifi, managing director, SAP Mena.
“Clearly, much of this growth will be fuelled by technology that increases insight, flexibility and overall competitiveness. SMEs are vital economic engines and incubators of innovation, so the positive, progressive sentiments indicated in this study bode extremely well for the future,” he said.
SMEs are also expected to make a significant impact on lowering the unemployment rate, which stood at 5.8 per cent as of Q1, according to the kingdom’s Central Department of Statistics and Information. - TradeArabia News Service