Yahoo to double its staff in MENA, says CEO

US internet giant says open to acquisitions but has slowed investment in Egypt
Yahoo to double its staff in MENA, says CEO
Yahoo is the world’s second most popular search engine
By Claire Ferris-Lay
Thu 09 Jun 2011 10:25 AM

Yahoo Inc, the world’s second largest internet search engine, could double the number of staff in its regional offices to 600 as it looks to increase online Arabic content from one to five percent in the Middle East and North Africa, its CEO said.

The California-based firm, which bought the Arabic-language internet venture Maktoob in 2009, said it is open to acquisitions in the region but was not currently in talks.

“We’ll be expanding almost as fast as we have been…I would hope to [to double our staff] in the next couple of years because when you think about it, that one percent to five percent is the real problem,” CEO Carol Bartz told Arabian Business. “If we can just get that video and that local blogging citizen content up, that would be a big deal for us.”

In an earlier speech Bartz had said: “We’re also hiring more writers, bloggers and editors to make our original content in Arabic richer and broader.”

Yahoo claims a 40 percent share of the display advertising market in the Middle East and North Africa but is looking to grow its business amid rising internet penetration rates.

In the 18 months since its Maktoob acquisition, the firm has grown its combined reach across MENA from 30 million unique users to 50 million, and said new buyouts are possible.

 “There’s always on our radar some 20 to 30 companies that we’re just watching or in contact with,” said Bartz. “Sometimes we’re just trying to find engineering talent or talent, maybe even business development talent. We’re always looking because it’s amazing what small groups of people can put together.”

The world’s second most popular search engine said it had been forced to delay plans to further invest in Egypt - home to a service centre that provides support for Europe, Middle East and Africa - amid the country’s social turmoil.

“We have a brand new call centre, customer service centre in Egypt….We would be much further along in obviously as you can imagine Egypt already but we had to put it on a little hiatus. It hasn’t scared us away,” said Bartz.

For all the latest tech news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.