Du unveils digital destination
Du plans to expand its presence by developing services in the digital space
UAE telco Du has launched a new online social networking and entertainment hub in a bid to tap growing demand for online content and services in the Middle East and North Africa.
The new online destination was launched this week in Beta, under the brand ‘anayou', a combination of the Arabic word for ‘me' and the English word ‘you'.
The platform, which is also available on mobile devices, was launched by Du Media Lab, a division of Du that is dedicated to ventures in the digital space.
The website offers content, applications and games, including access to a social networking platform, entertainment, sports, messaging and a 2GB cloud storage space called ‘the Vault'.
"The people of Arabia deserve more from the Internet than what is presently offered," said Osman Sultan, CEO, Du.
Speaking prior to the launch, Sultan told CommsMEA that Du would not seek to compete with existing services such as Facebook or Twitter.
"I don't think the idea is to create an alternative to Facebook, Twitter and certainly not Google, in this part of the world," he said. "It is about content. There is Arabic content here and there but I don't think it has been aggregated in the proper way.
"There is not a digital space for people living in this part of the world, and this does not necessarily mean that it is Arabic only, it is about Arabic, English and French," Sultan added."There is an opportunity to create a digital space, a digital platform that could be a destination that appeals to people from this part of the world."
Sultan added that he sees ventures such as Anayou as being key to Du's expansion beyond the UAE. "It can be used by people using any operator in the Arab world, you can go beyond borders without paying a huge amount of money. Let's be creative and expand beyond the borders of the UAE without any investment. That is only feasible on the internet," he said.
Sultan also refused to rule out the possibility Du making acquisitions to further its aims of expanding in the online space. "It is absolutely not excluded, but probably these will not be telcos," he said.
While there are 344 million Arabic speakers globally and Arabic is the seventh most popular language on the internet, less than 1% of global online content is in Arabic, according to Du.
Anayou was developed in partnership with several content, media, and technology providers, including Rotana, Getmo Arabia, Eurosport, MBC, Accenture, Funambol, Hungama, and gaming company F4.
Anayou, which is available in Arabic, English and French, can be visited at www.anayou.com.