Twitter Is Opening an Office in Dubai
The social media platform is hugely popular in the region. It helped fan the flames of the Arab Spring four years ago. Saudis have become mad for it. Sheikh Mohammed, the ruler of Dubai, now has twice as many followers as U.K. Prime Minister David Cameronand French leader Francois Hollande combined.
“Twitter is coming to Dubai,” Shailesh Rao, vice president of Asia Pacific, Latin America and Emerging Markets at the social media giant announced in a tweet.
Twitter started selling ads in the Middle East in 2013 after it appointed Cairo-based Connect Ads as a rep in the region. The firm will now open an office in Dubai to serve the whole Middle East, Mr. Rao said in the tweet, without elaborating.
The number of active Twitter users in the region has grown steadily to 5.8 million at the last count in March 2014 by the Arab Social Media Report. There are about 288 million monthly active users worldwide, according to Twitter.
Saudi Arabia is the country in the Arab region with the highest number of active Twitter users, with 2.4 million. It accounts for about 40% of the 17.1 million tweets per day in the Middle East. The country’s new leader King Salman was one of the fastest growing Twitter profiles in the world following his ascension to the throne in January, adding more than half a million followers in a few days.
The reason for Twitter’s late entry could be a simple one. Although the region loves Twitter, ad spending in the Middle East is not high and still lags the rest of the world. For instance, ad spending per capita in Saudi Arabia was $38 last year, compared to $520 in the U.S., according to consultancy Strategy&. But that gap is forecast to close.