By Parag Deulgaonkar
UAE billionaire is set to launch phone messaging service for the Middle East that aims to compete with services such as WhatsApp
UAE billionaire Mohamed Alabbar will launch the Arab world’s first social messaging app in February or March next year.
In October this year, the businessman announced plans to launch a phone messaging service for the Middle East that aims to compete with services such as WhatsApp.
“There are 350 million young people in the region and they are 200 million of young people who are connected to the digital world,” he said.
Alabbar, who made his fortune as the chairman of Dubai's largest listed property developer, Emaar Properties, has been moving into other areas, in particular technology.
Mobile phone penetration in the Gulf region is among the highest in the world, with Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in the top seven globally with rates near to the equivalent of two phones for every person.
The region is also home to a young and tech-savvy population - Saudi Arabia is one of the top consumers of YouTube videos - but there is comparatively-little Arabic-language online content.
According to Mr. Alabbar, â€œThere are 350 million young people in the region and they are 200 million of young people who are connected to the digital world.â€ So if the primary target users are these young people, then I hope they are represented properly on the planning, design, and testing teams. Only young people know exactly what features and UI/UX attracts young people. Two teenage brothers, Amer & Moe Yaghi, had created a social network for teens only; which had unheard of amazing features. They had called their social app, Chillax, but it failed because they lacked the required expertise to make Chillax compete with Facebook. Talk to teenagers to get what they want.
Congratulations on this move. Arabs deserve to have their platforms; for personal and corporate use.