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Arabia.com axes over 20% of its workforce

Arabia.com has laid-off 20 of its 75 employees in the last week, according to sources. The company's management blames reduced growth forecasts for job losses.

Arabia.com has laid-off 20 of its 75 staff, which equates to over 20% of its workforce, according to sources who requested anonymity.

Arabia.com's vice-president of sales and marketing, Richard Evans, confirmed that job losses had been necessary in a restructuring last week, but declined to put a figure on the number of redundancies.

"Like a lot of other hi-tech companies, we have had to reduce our growth expectations and bring down our costs to fit with those expectations," Evans told ITP.net.

Evans explained that while it is always regrettable when people lose their jobs, the company felt that it had a responsibility to remaining customers, employees and shareholders to restructure the company.

Arabia.com makes no secret of the fact that it has never moved its business into profit, but asserts that there is no loss of confidence from investors in the company. "We still have the right management team, strong shareholders and confidence in the direction we want to go in," said Evans.

Weakness in the online advertising sector is being blamed for Arabia.com's reduced growth forecast. Evans suggests this weakness is a result of local advertisers reading too many scare stories about online advertising from abroad. The Middle East, he says, has not really got off the ground in terms of exploiting the 3-4 million Internet users they could be reaching with targeted online advertising campaigns. "[Advertisers] are not putting energy into this market," he added.

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