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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 25th March 2007, 11:07 AM
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Awalnet’s Al Hussein: A lack of Arabic content is hurting the Middle East

Fahd Al Hussein, the president of Saudi’s largest internet service provider (ISP) Awalnet has claimed that the lack of Arabic content on the internet is hurting efforts to get Saudis online. Speaking exclusively to IT Arabia's sister publication CIO Arabia, Al Hussein, who has headed Awalnet for a number of years, claimed that business should work to addressing the lack of Arabic content on the internet if the region is going to fully benefit from e-commerce and higher broadband penetration. Awalnet's President is also looking to the government to get more companies online and spur the spread of broadband.

According to Al Hussein, ISPs in Saudi Arabia face a number of challenges today, including a lack of infrastructure and high pricing structures from data providers. Despite the obstacles, internet subscription figures are rising rapidly for the Kingdom's largest ISP.

"The market is growing rapidly at 25 to 30 percent year on year. Internet penetration has risen from 8 to 15 percent - this is total internet penetration. Broadband is less than one percent, which is a very low figure. Infrastructure is the challenge that we face in the industry. Saudi is a huge country, and urban centres are spread out. In the country 40 percent of homes are outside the area which we can serve for broadband and they cannot be served well. That is the main cause of the problem we are facing in terms of broadband deployment," claimed Al Hussein.

However, the lack of any meaningful deployment of Arabic language websites is hurting long-term internet development in the region. To date, Saudi Arabia is still lagging behind in areas such as e-commerce, and Al Hussein believes companies should look again at getting online and communicating to the public through the internet.

"If broadband is in place then the economy will boom, e-commerce will boom, and e-transactions will boom. It will be a spur to create content, it will aid in dealing with government departments, and it will empower businesses to take up e-commerce. This will impact the national economy tremendously. In Saudi there are two things you have to remember, in that the corporate scenario is worse than it is for consumers. About 500,000 companies are registered with the Jeddah, Riyadh, and Khobar Chambers of Commerce. The numbers of those companies online are very minimal, in the thousands," added Al Hussein.

Pointing to the effect that Tadawal, online trading, has had on the economy, Al Hussein is looking to push agencies and companies to promote their wares on the internet. Awalnet's top man claims that Saudis are ready for e-commerce, but that there's no local e-portals for users wanting to shop online in the region.

"People want to go online, they want to buy online, and the lack of infrastructure is not helping them. We are behind in terms of development, and we need relevant content. In 2006 one noticeable area was Tadawal, the stock market boom. This was the killer application to make the Saudi population go online. We had old people who had never used a computer coming into the office to ask for internet. They wanted to go online and trade, and this is an example of how good content will make people go online. They were fighting with STC to go online, they were shouting and screaming for the service. Because of Tadawal, our industry grew incredibly quickly," added Al Hussein.

As of today, there are still no e-commerce sites in general use in the country. Logistics providers such as Aramex operate shipping services for users who wish to buy off Amazon.com in the US, but anyone looking for an e-commerce experience locally may be in for a long wait.


http://www.it-arabia.com/news.php?cs...&s=true&id=253
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Old 25th March 2007, 12:11 PM
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Re: Awalnet’s Al Hussein: A lack of Arabic content is hurting the Middle East

A golden opportunity awaits for someone.

Many of our forum members own key generics that could be the first Arabic URL to gain a dramatic and lucrative foothold in this market.

The question is then begged - who here is meeting this challenge and has seriously started development with Arabic sites?
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Old 25th March 2007, 12:20 PM
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Re: Awalnet’s Al Hussein: A lack of Arabic content is hurting the Middle East

Problem is, what this guy is asking for is for fully fledge e-commerce businesses. I guess it is a bit chicken and egg. No one is going to make the kind of investment to affect physical delivery of goods, whilst much of the basic infrastructure is not in place.

Adsense sites will frankly not have much impact if they don't have a bit more than poorly translated extracts from Wikipedia, indeed it may just serve to convince many that the Internet is a waste of time.

IDN will have a positive impact once IE7 is out there. This is the fundamental problem and as I have said many times, Microsoft is crippling the economic development in Asia. In my view, it is the clearest and most mindless abuse of monopoly power, and the fact that most information being fed to the market by Microsoft on the subject is clearly inaccurate only gives weight to the idea of a conspiracy.
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Old 25th March 2007, 12:24 PM
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Re: Awalnet’s Al Hussein: A lack of Arabic content is hurting the Middle East

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rubber Duck
Problem is, what this guy is asking for is for fully fledge e-commerce businesses. I guess it is a bit chicken and egg. No one is going to make the kind of investment to affect physical delivery of goods, whilst much of the basic infrastructure is not in place.

Adsense sites will frankly not have much impact if they don't have a bit more than poorly translated extracts from Wikipedia, indeed it may just serve to convince many that the Internet is a waste of time.

IDN will have a positive impact once IE7 is out there. This is the fundamental problem and as I have said many times, Microsoft is crippling the economic development in Asia. In my view, it is the clearest and most mindless abuse of monopoly power, and the fact that most information being fed to the market by Microsoft on the subject is clearly inaccurate only gives weight to the idea of a conspiracy.
Well said RD.

Local development is the key to IDN Revolution.

It is a shame to see opportunity go begging though...
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Old 25th March 2007, 12:26 PM
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Re: Awalnet’s Al Hussein: A lack of Arabic content is hurting the Middle East

What is further pissing me off this morning is that I can get any site I want on IE7 this morning except this one. I can get this using FF no problem, but I have tried everything using IE7 to no avail. It just won't do it. What a piece of shit!
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Old 25th March 2007, 01:35 PM
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Re: Awalnet’s Al Hussein: A lack of Arabic content is hurting the Middle East

Quote:
Originally Posted by DavyBUK

"The market is growing rapidly at 25 to 30 percent year on year. Internet penetration has risen from 8 to 15 percent - this is total internet penetration. Broadband is less than one percent, which is a very low figure. Infrastructure is the challenge that we face in the industry. Saudi is a huge country, and urban centres are spread out. In the country 40 percent of homes are outside the area which we can serve for broadband and they cannot be served well. That is the main cause of the problem we are facing in terms of broadband deployment," claimed Al Hussein.

However, the lack of any meaningful deployment of Arabic language websites is hurting long-term internet development in the region. To date, Saudi Arabia is still lagging behind in areas such as e-commerce, and Al Hussein believes companies should look again at getting online and communicating to the public through the internet.
That says to me Arabic IDNs are going to lag significantly behind other markets. Let's face it, Japanese, Chinese, Thai developers have been producing native language web sites since day #1. It really surprises me there is a lack of Arabic language websites out there, but they will definitely come before Arabic IDNs are used, not the other way round.

Also the broadband penetration rate is nothing short of terrible. Arabic IDNs are still a definite long-term BUY, but don't get excited short and medium term. Just my opinion though
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Old 25th March 2007, 01:42 PM
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Re: Awalnet’s Al Hussein: A lack of Arabic content is hurting the Middle East

Quote:
Originally Posted by domainguru
That says to me Arabic IDNs are going to lag significantly behind other markets. Let's face it, Japanese, Chinese, Thai developers have been producing native language web sites since day #1. It really surprises me there is a lack of Arabic language websites out there, but they will definitely come before Arabic IDNs are used, not the other way round.

Also the broadband penetration rate is nothing short of terrible. Arabic IDNs are still a definite long-term BUY, but don't get excited short and medium term. Just my opinion though
Exactly what I've been trying to say on the forums for a while but get scolded everytime.
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Old 25th March 2007, 01:44 PM
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Re: Awalnet’s Al Hussein: A lack of Arabic content is hurting the Middle East

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fka200
Exactly what I've been trying to say on the forums for a while but get scolded everytime.
I'll put my crash helmet on now then :p
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Old 25th March 2007, 01:46 PM
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Re: Awalnet’s Al Hussein: A lack of Arabic content is hurting the Middle East

Quote:
Originally Posted by domainguru
That says to me Arabic IDNs are going to lag significantly behind other markets. Let's face it, Japanese, Chinese, Thai developers have been producing native language web sites since day #1. It really surprises me there is a lack of Arabic language websites out there, but they will definitely come before Arabic IDNs are used, not the other way round.

Also the broadband penetration rate is nothing short of terrible. Arabic IDNs are still a definite long-term BUY, but don't get excited short and medium term. Just my opinion though
Yes, Arabic has lagged significantly behind, but it is catching up fast.

Arab economies are now very much on the up again after a decade of very low oil prices.

There is not particularly a lack of websites, as some of my domains throw up 100 Million pages, and that is not what the guy said. What he is saying is that there is a lack of e-commerce websites. In other words people are not at the moment looking for Arab Dollars. Frankly, that is not terribly surprising but once the introspective nature of western commerce leaves our companies struggling to catch up, it will be too late. The Chinese will be supply all their requirements.

I would also not write of Arabic IDNs so quickly, at present they are still out performing both Chinese and Japanese in terms of type-in revenue.
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Old 25th March 2007, 02:09 PM
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Re: Awalnet’s Al Hussein: A lack of Arabic content is hurting the Middle East

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rubber Duck

There is not particularly a lack of websites, as some of my domains throw up 100 Million pages, and that is not what the guy said. What he is saying is that there is a lack of e-commerce websites.
Well this is exactly what the article said.

Quote:
However, the lack of any meaningful deployment of Arabic language websites is hurting long-term internet development in the region. To date, Saudi Arabia is still lagging behind in areas such as e-commerce, and Al Hussein believes companies should look again at getting online and communicating to the public through the internet.
Everyone can interpret that as they see fit.
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Old 25th March 2007, 03:03 PM
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Re: Awalnet’s Al Hussein: A lack of Arabic content is hurting the Middle East

The secret of all investment - Location, location, location.

1. First consideration is the number of internet users and the future potential number of internet users.

Top Ten Languages Used in the Web:
http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats7.htm

2. Second consideration is the relative strength of the .com and .net TLD for the languages.

3. Third consideration is the number of natives with extreme wealth and spending power (if i were to cash out at $xxx,xxx for an IDN, the buyer has to be native - this point has become more crucial, possibly even elevated to primary factor, since we knew Moniker brokered that 7-figure Hebrew sale. ).

Last edited by touchring; 25th March 2007 at 03:15 PM..
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Old 25th March 2007, 03:07 PM
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Re: Awalnet’s Al Hussein: A lack of Arabic content is hurting the Middle East

Quote:
Originally Posted by touchring
The secret of all investment - Location, location, location.

Top Ten Languages Used in the Web:
http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats7.htm

When i started buying IDNs, i used this list as a guide.

The next consideration is the relative strength of the .com and .net TLD for the languages.
Mad props to you.

Also correct about location location location.

Now execute the same strategy for domain extensions
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Old 25th March 2007, 03:10 PM
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Re: Awalnet’s Al Hussein: A lack of Arabic content is hurting the Middle East

I think Arab World has lagged in a lot of areas and some of it is linked in with the US foreign policy.

Nearly all US policy towards the Middle East has always revolved around their dependence on oil.

If there is one thing that scares them more than the US being dependent on Middle East Oil supplies, is the fear that the Arabs will become less dependent on the US dollars that the oil supplies bring in. That means it is likely that CIA and others regard it as distinctly against the US national interest for the Arabs to become economically robust in other areas.

However, we are now at the point where the economies of the Arab World are at the point of being far more tied in with those of Europe and Asia than those of North America.

Quote:
Originally Posted by touchring
The secret of all investment - Location, location, location.

1. First consideration is the number of internet users and the future potential number of internet users.

Top Ten Languages Used in the Web:
http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats7.htm

2. Second consideration is the relative strength of the .com and .net TLD for the languages.

3. Third consideration is the number of natives with extreme wealth and spending power (if i were to cash out at $xxx,xxx for an IDN, the buyer has to be native - this point has become more crucial, possibly even elevated to primary factor, since we knew Moniker brokered that 7-figure Hebrew sale. ).
This is really only reflects the kind of sloppy research that the US is famous for. Unfortunately, such data is affecting the formation of opinions there.

1,143,218,916 is the Figure for English Speakers. This represents the total number that can manage "Hello, How do you do?". This data is totally meaningless when it comes to predicting browsing behaviour.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rubber Duck
I think Arab World has lagged in a lot of areas and some of it is linked in with the US foreign policy.

Nearly all US policy towards the Middle East has always revolved around their dependence on oil.

If there is one thing that scares them more than the US being dependent on Middle East Oil supplies, is the fear that the Arabs will become less dependent on the US dollars that the oil supplies bring in. That means it is likely that CIA and others regard it as distinctly against the US national interest for the Arabs to become economically robust in other areas.

However, we are now at the point where the economies of the Arab World are at the point of being far more tied in with those of Europe and Asia than those of North America.



This is really only reflects the kind of sloppy research that the US is famous for. Unfortunately, such data is affecting the formation of opinions there.

1,143,218,916 is the Figure for English Speakers. This represents the total number that can manage "Hello, How do you do?". This data is totally meaningless when it comes to predicting browsing behaviour.
On the extremely Rich Individuals Level, you should be looking at Russia. They are only behind the US and Germany in terms of the number of Billionaires!
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Last edited by Rubber Duck; 25th March 2007 at 03:21 PM.. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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Old 25th March 2007, 03:22 PM
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Re: Awalnet’s Al Hussein: A lack of Arabic content is hurting the Middle East

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChinaStar
Mad props to you.

Also correct about location location location.

Now execute the same strategy for domain extensions

Ah, you quoted me before i completed the 3 Ls. The 3rd factor is also very important, IMO, perhaps even more important than the first 2 factors at this stage.
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Old 25th March 2007, 03:31 PM
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Re: Awalnet’s Al Hussein: A lack of Arabic content is hurting the Middle East

Then you should look at Russia.

http://www.cnn.com/2007/BUSINESS/03/...eut/index.html

Ranks third in terms of Billionaires. Two behind Germany.
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Old 25th March 2007, 03:46 PM
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Re: Awalnet’s Al Hussein: A lack of Arabic content is hurting the Middle East

yes there is an issue around the lack of e-commerce sites in the Arab speaking world.

however i don't see this as a problem, but more of an opportunity.

Don't kid yourself, Arabic names are a long hold - to be tucked away in a drawer until their day comes.

Ideally you should have a have a diversified portfolio - where you can concentrate on the short term wins and come back to these another day.

JMO
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Old 25th March 2007, 03:49 PM
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Re: Awalnet’s Al Hussein: A lack of Arabic content is hurting the Middle East

Which is precisely why it probably makes sense to buy Arabic rather than sell it.
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Old 25th March 2007, 03:59 PM
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Re: Awalnet’s Al Hussein: A lack of Arabic content is hurting the Middle East

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rubber Duck
Then you should look at Russia.

http://www.cnn.com/2007/BUSINESS/03/...eut/index.html

Ranks third in terms of Billionaires. Two behind Germany.

I think the number of millionaires is more important than billionaires:
http://edition.cnn.com/2006/BUSINESS...ich/index.html

Quote:
After the U.S. figure of 2.67 million millionaires, Germany had 767,000, the UK had 448,000 and China had 320,000 in 2005, according to the survey. Brazil had 109,000, Russia had 103,000 and India had 83,000. Australia was home to 146,000 millionaires, while Canada had 232,000.
http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=364632

Quote:
"There are no unions, no taxes and administration is very easy. Barriers to entry are going lower and lower," Bazzy said. Overall, the UAE counts 59,000 millionaires, while neighboring Saudi Arabia had 80,000, Bazzy said.
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?p...aDo&refer=asia

Quote:
Singapore millionaires rose 22.4 percent to 48,500, the report said. In the U.S. the number increased 10 percent to 2.5 million and in Hong Kong they rose by 18.8 percent to 67,500.
http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,...064633,00.html

Quote:
The report has Germany tailing the US, with its 2.6 million millionaires, and Japan, with 1.4 million -- while world-wide, the number of HNWIs climbed 6.5 percent to a total of 8.7 million.
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Old 25th March 2007, 04:07 PM
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Re: Awalnet’s Al Hussein: A lack of Arabic content is hurting the Middle East

A Million Dollars won't get you a house in London!

World wealth is greatly distorted by exchange rates.

US has historically managed to keep it currency much higher than any level for which there is any real economic justification thereby grossly distorting the figures.

The level of the US currency has been used substantially to subsidise government spending and project military might.

Unfortunately, those rose coloured spectacles are going to have to come off real soon before the economic position of the US simply implodes.
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Old 25th March 2007, 04:19 PM
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Re: Awalnet’s Al Hussein: A lack of Arabic content is hurting the Middle East

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rubber Duck
A Million Dollars won't get you a house in London!

World wealth is greatly distorted by exchange rates.

US has historically managed to keep it currency much higher than any level for which there is any real economic justification thereby grossly distorting the figures.

The level of the US currency has been used substantially to subsidise government spending and project military might.

Unfortunately, those rose coloured spectacles are going to have to come off real soon before the economic position of the US simply implodes.

The definition of millionaire is usually your assets (excluding the house you own and live in).
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