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Cisco to boost presence in Saudi Arabia

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, April 18 (UPI) -- Cisco Systems plans to increase its presence in Saudi Arabia and position itself in a growing IT market.

Company President John Chambers was in Riyadh Tuesday to announce a 1 billion Riyal ($265 million) investment initiative that includes increasing staff levels, providing networking infrastructure in underprivileged neighborhoods and establishing a technology center that will provide R&D along with start-up incubation.

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Cisco's efforts aren't entirely altruistic. Chambers described oil-rich Saudi Arabia as being focused on technology as a driver for its 21st Century economy. The company pointed to a recent research report that described The Kingdom as being ahead of most European countries in the adoption of IT technologies such Voice over Internet Protocol telephony.

"Saudi Arabia is experiencing a transformation as it expands its economic growth opportunities into new sectors using information technology," said Chambers. "Today's announcement of our investment plans in Saudi Arabia reflects our alignment with the country's focus on entrepreneurship, innovation and education."

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