Yahoo to launch mobile website in Arabic for Middle East

Yahoo is set to launch a mobile website in Arabic tailor-made for the Middle East in June, thus looking to exploit the region’s booming smartphone market, according to reports. Internet users in the Arab world who currently browse Yahoo are redirected to US or UK mobile sites. However, with the new localized front page, Middle East content – such as text or video based news, entertainment and sport – will be presented in Arabic as well as English and supported locally.

“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,” Ahmed Nassef, the Vice President and Managing Director of Yahoo Middle East told reporters.

“This is going to be much more relevant to what people here are looking for,” added Mr Nassef.

The move follows the acquisition of Middle East web portal Maktoob in 2009 by Yahoo, in order to ensure more localized web content on its internet site. The purchase, which cost US$164 million, has since resulted in the Yahoo Maktoob portal for PC users in the region.

“Already, without this (the Arabic-language mobile website), we have over 4 million users that are accessing Yahoo today on mobile devices from the region,” Mr Nassef said on the sidelines of the GMR Marketing to Women Conference in Dubai.

Mobile websites are formatted specially for smaller screens and less data-heavy internet pages.
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