Tech firm IBM is expanding its presence in the Middle East by launching its first office in Kuwait, the company announced on Wednesday.
The move is part of a broad programme of investment that IBM is making across the Middle East, it said. The company currently has regional offices in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and UAE.
The new office, licensed by the Kuwait Direct Investment Promotion Authority (KDIPA), will act as a sales and customer service hub for IBM’s offerings in the region with a focus on study and research, professional services, systems integration and facilities management activities.
The company will also be offering key solutions in cloud, social, mobile, big data and security to organisations in Kuwait, it said.
“As part of IBM’s continued geographic expansion to increase its presence in key growth markets around the world, our Kuwait office will enable IBM to increase its level of service to clients across the region and to deliver high-value solutions for their business,” said Amr Refaat, general manager, IBM Middle East and Pakistan.
“We believe that Kuwait is a particularly important geography within the Middle East given a diversifying economic landscape and the continued maturity of the country’s IT sector.”
The Gulf state, the fifth richest country in the world in per capita GDP, depends on oil extraction for 40 per cent of its GDP and is now looking to diversify its economy away from oil into sectors such as technology.
In line with that, IT spending in Kuwait is expected to reach $1.1 billion (KWD332 million) in 2015, up four per cent from 2014.
Similar to other GCC states, Kuwait also has one of the highest mobile and smartphone penetration rates in the Middle East.
Dr. Meshaal Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, director general of KDIPA, said: “The Kuwaiti government recognises the central role that IT plays in the diversification of the economic base of the country to achieve Kuwait’s 2035 national vision, and streamline its transition to a sustainable knowledge-based economy.”
With regional governments diversifying their economies and also planning smart city projects, IT spending is set to grow substantially.
Spending on ICT products and services in the Middle East and Africa will cross the $270 billion mark this year with the IT market expected to grow nine per cent year on year in 2015, according to a report by IDC.