Sunday, March 15, 2009

KOM Doubles Office Capacity

The foundation stone for the new multi-purpose, 30,000 square metre ICT and business development facility on Knowledge Oasis Muscat (KOM) was laid on Sunday 15 March by the Under Secretary for Commerce & Industry, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, HE Ahmed bin Hassan Al Dheeb (seated right) and HE Mohammed bin Nasser Al Rasbi, Under Secretary, Ministry of Defence(seated left).

In addition to the foundation stone laying ceremony, the two Under Secretaries signed a series of agreements related to the expansion of the Rusayl-based technology park.

Since its launch in 2003, KOM has gone from strength to strength, attracting multinationals such as Microsoft, NCR, Huawei, Motorola and Hewlett Packard to take up residency. Hi-tech SMEs from the Middle East, Asia and Europe have also opened operations on KOM. In addition to this, the Park’s business incubator program, The Knowledge Mine, continues to thrive, now home to over 15 start-ups working in areas that include e-Security, web design, precision engineering and environmental services.

Alongside the business benefits, the new KOM building is expected have a major impact on the domestic economy attracting upwards of 2,000 jobs and substantial inward investment into Oman over the next 5-10 years of its opening.

The new building will comprise of eight floors and take KOM’s existing office accommodation on from 22,000m2 to over 50,000m2. Externally, it will compliment the existing green glassed domed buildings on the park. Upper floors will have superb panoramic views over the tech park and the surrounding countryside.

The large development is the result of a partnership between KOM and the Ministry of Defence Pension Fund. As well as creating a centre for ICT excellence, the new building will also provide a base for firms working in areas such as the creative industries, education and environmental technologies.

Hilal Al Ahsani, CEO, Public Establishment for Industrial Estates (PEIE) the government organization responsible for KOM said: “The global market for environmental products and services is an area KOM is keen to explore and one that is projected to double from US$1,370 billion (1.37 trillion) per year at present to US$2,740 billion (2.74 trillion) by 2020.”

According to Al Ahsani, in countries such as Germany, environmental technology is expected to grow fourfold to 16 per cent of industrial output by 2030, with employment in this sector surpassing that in the country's big machine tool and automotive industries. “Given the growth in environment technology, the new facility we’re building will certainly be looking to attract companies working in this important sector.”

The PEIE CEO went on to add: “KOM’s new development will bring huge long-term benefits to the Omani economy by fostering closer ties between ICT, business and education, building on the spirit of innovation for which KOM is renowned. PEIE is committed to developing our knowledge economy which is why we are partnering with the Ministry of Defence Pension Fund in this state-of-the-art facility.”

Saleh Al Habsi, Director General, MoD Pension Fund said: “KOM and the new 30,000 square metre office facility is about investing in Oman’s future by providing our people and businesses with the opportunities, skills and facilities they need to prosper.”

The foundation stone laying ceremony marks the start of the building’s construction. The project’s consultants are locally-based National Engineering Office and the contractor is Al Adrak Trading and Contracting LLC. The building is fully expected to be a landmark feature and will be equipped with the latest technology in broadband information and communication.

Long-term tenant of KOM and MD of Infocomm, Karim Rahemtulla said: “This is a major investment in Oman’s future and will bring immense benefits to the sultanate’s ICT and creative industries sectors, particularly in terms of the recruitment and retention of staff, as well as being a catalyst to the economic development of Oman."

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