ictQATAR and Yahoo! in strategic partnership

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Yahoo! and ictQATAR have announced that they have entered into a strategic partnership to collaborate on the development of digital media and content in Qatar, with a look to promoting the generation of Arabic language content.
Yahoo! will work closely with ictQATAR to cultivate innovation, stimulate online growth and nurture entrepreneurship by providing expertise from its global-scale operations in the areas of digital content, multi-platform applications, and digital advertising.
As part of the agreement, Yahoo! will collaborate with ictQATAR’s incubation centre to help entrepreneurs and start-ups develop, distribute and monetise their content.
Rich Riley, senior vice-president and managing director, Yahoo! Europe Middle East and Africa, said: “We are very excited to be entering into this strategic partnership with ictQATAR. This is a joint project with common objectives: Qatar has incredible ambitions for growing the ICT sector and Yahoo!, as the premier digital media company, is well placed to make those plans a reality to the benefit of Qatar’s business, brands and consumers.”
Ali al-Khulaifi, ICT market development manager, ictQATAR, said: “ictQATAR is committed to developing a vibrant digital content ecosystem in Qatar, with a specific focus on quality Arabic content. Qatar and the Arab world have much to share, and without question the best way to share our thoughts, ideas and innovations is digitally. We look forward to working with Yahoo! as a strategic partner to make Qatar a hub for leading digital content in the region, and creating an entrepreunerial spirit among our local talent in the industry.”
Only 2% of online content is in Arabic, although Arabic speakers make up 5% of the global online community. Riley said that large archives, many of which are in tape format, have not been digitised. Old texts, historical documents, videos or any other Arabic language content can be put online, adding to the wealth of information available on the Internet.
Yahoo! are also hoping to improve the quality of its non-licensed Arabic language content on their Yahoo! Maktoob website which they admit has been lacking, and add locally sourced content to make their Maktoob service relevant to users in any location in the region.
“With 70mn people online today in Mena and 50mn more expected to come in the next two to three years makes this one of the fastest growing markets in the world. With all this growth, there is still much to be done to develop the digital ecosystem in Mena and we are keen to be collaborating with the region’s leading initiatives to fuel this development,” said Ahmed Nassef, vice-president and managing director, Yahoo! Maktoob, Middle East.
In the past two years since Yahoo! acquired Maktoob, the company says its combined reach grew from 30mn users to 56mn in the Middle East and North Africa. Yahoo! has also invested in expanding its regional footprint with fully staffed offices across Dubai, Amman, Cairo, Riyadh and Casablanca, covering editorial, engineering, sales, marketing and customer care. Riley said that he expects Yahoo! will open a Qatar office as a natural development of the new partnership with ictQatar.

Gulf Times