In today’s interconnected world, the competitive advantage of any business is largely determined by the degree of technology adoption, utilization and connection with the target audience. Researchers often argue that without a critical mass of local content, Arab countries cannot reap the benefits of the global information revolution.
The size of local markets is always critical to measuring the benefits of using localized content for online communication. According to InternetWorldStats.com, Arabs make up about 3.1% of the world’s population and 3.3% of Internet users around the world understand and speak Arabic.
With 230 million people speaking Arabic in the Arab World, of which over 60% are under the age of 25, Internet usage in the Middle East is rapidly increasing. In fact, Internet penetration in the Middle East is increasing at the rate of 28.3%, about 3% more than the global average. We can say with certainty that there exists a large pool of local Internet users who are looking to read Arabic content online and the need of creating good quality Arabic content is increasing.
However, many of these Arabic users either do not find any good Arabic content or face a rather disconnected online experience when they are sent to an English web page through an Arabic ad or link. In turn, the local audience loses interest and gets carried away by the global competition, which is exactly why a lack of online Arabic content has led local businesses down a bottleneck.
Despite the shortage, there are very few initiatives pushing for Arabic content online, including the likes of Google and Twofour54 to name a couple. In the past few years, governments all over the Arab world have also started launching billion-dollar plans for e-Governments projects and related infrastructures which helps position the Arab World as a part of the global information society.
While some Arab countries are showing real drive in the Internet space, there are others that still lack the dynamism required to boost Arabic content for the next generation of online users.
By providing quality Arabic content, organizations and businesses can help promote more local community engagement. This can also open up channels for international communities that are interested in Arabic culture and looking to learn more about the Arab world.
By creating online Arabic content, businesses can better connect with their Arabic audience, those who are more comfortable using the Arabic language. But the truth remains that even though there exists a huge demand of online Arabic content, there are not enough companies that are creating good Arabic content for their Internet-savvy, local audiences.
Perhaps it is time for businesses to consider applying Arabic content in their online strategies in order to achieve a more targeted market outreach that allows them to take advantage of the great opportunities the region has to offer.