x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Getting smart - Yahoo plans Arabic mobile site for Middle East

Internet giant Yahoo plans Arabic mobile site as it looks to cash in on region's smartphone boom.

Yahoo plans to launch a mobile website in Arabic as it looks to cash in on the booming smartphone market in the Middle East.

The US internet firm plans to sell advertising specifically geared for delivery over mobile phones, following the regional launch of its mobile site next month.

"In June, we're planning to roll out our Yahoo front page for mobile in both Arabic and English, in addition to our media properties," said Ahmed Nassef, the vice president and managing director of Yahoo Middle East.

"Via mobile devices, our users will be able to connect to the latest news and sports... from the UAE or Egypt or Saudi, with relevant content," he added.

Internet users in the Arab world are currently redirected to the UK or US mobile websites when navigating to the Yahoo homepage on their phones.

But they will soon be offered a regional site with Arabic support, and news stories geared towards the region, Mr Nassef said.

"This is going to much more relevant to what people here are looking for," he said.

Advertising will be sold specifically for the regional mobile site, Mr Nassef added.

"We'll be bringing on our mobile advertising here to the region. We've been very active in North America and Europe in mobile advertising. So expect that later on this year," he said.

Mr Nassef was speaking on the sidelines of the GMR Marketing to Women Conference held in Dubai.

Yahoo in 2009 acquired the Middle East web portal Maktoob for US$164 million. The site is branded Yahoo Maktoob in the Arab region.