Social network for Arabs enters the fray
AreebaAreeba aims to cater for Arab professionals in the region and overseas
Dubai-based entrepreneur Ayman Irshaid has soft-launched AreebaAreeba, a new social networking site aimed at Arab professionals and companies.
Irshaid, who has invested some $300,000 in the venture, said he designed the website to address a perceived gap in the market for an online space for Arab professionals.
"In the Middle East, there are about 350 million people aged from 20 to 55 years old, and there are also about 50 million expat Arabs all over the world," Irshaid said. "I have seen that those professionals were disconnected from their home."
He added that one of the ideas behind the site was to "bring them [Arab expats] a dedicated network where they can really promote their talents".
Irshaid said that AreebaAreeba is also designed to help businesses and professionals to interact and create new sales channels.
The website, which offers subscribers a social networking tool similar to Facebook, also allows various other means of communication and includes a blog spot, a video upload function, and an area to upload documents that can be viewed by all members of the site.
"Members can establish themselves within their community and beyond, by building a network of business associates, creating a web store-front or showcase of their services," Irshaid said.
While the website is currently in English, Irshaid plans to add Arabic and other languages including French, Spanish and Italian in the new year.
He added that the official launch of the website will take place in March 2011, when it will be migrated to a new platform that will be hosted in the Middle East, Europe and the US.
Irshaid, who has been involved in the telecoms sector for 25 years, denied that AreebaAreeba will be competing directly with websites such as Facebook and LinkedIn and stressed that his venture is targeted specifically at Arabs and at "bringing the world to the Middle East", a phrase that also appears on the home page of the site.
The soft launch of AreebaAreeba follows closely from the launch of ‘Anayou', a web portal created by UAE telco Du in October, and signals a growing desire by regional companies to create content tailored for Arab markets.