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LinkedIn opens first MENA office in Dubai

Social networking site for professionals says move will boost membership and ad revenues

LinkedIn opens first MENA office in Dubai
LinkedIn will focus on its hiring solutions in the Middle East region to begin with, says Syed.

LinkedIn, the social networking site for professionals, will open its first office in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in Dubai as it moves to boost advertising revenues and its number of users, the website said Monday.

The online firm, which has more than 175m users worldwide, said it has more than 5m members in the MENA region, 1m of which are based in the UAE.

"We see the Middle East as a great opportunity," Farhan Syed, director of global sales strategy for LinkedIn, told Arabian Business.

"There are estimates that there are 50m social media users in the Middle East, some percentage of those are professionals. We want to capture that professional population and have them all benefit from the LinkedIn network," he added.

The Dubai Internet City-based office, which will initially have seven members of staff, will focus on growing revenues within its hiring solutions business, said Syed.

"There are three businesses that we have; hiring solutions, marketing solutions and premium subscriptions. We have all three of those businesses in the Middle East, [but] those seven [staff] will be focused on the hiring solutions business." 

LinkedIn's decision to open an office in Dubai comes several months after Facebook opened its first office in the region. The social networking site, which raised $16bn in its May initial public offering, said it has more than 45m users in the MENA region, with 20m users connecting daily.

Facebook said it planned to target regional fast-moving consumer goods companies as it looks to boost advertising revenues in the oil-rich region amid an economic slowdown in Europe.

"It is a substantial region in terms of opportunity. If you look at Europe, Middle East and North Africa as one region, it represents some of the highest growth rates for us," Joanna Shields, vice president and managing director for Facebook Europe, Middle East and Africa told Arabian Business.

"In Europe the economic situation is challenging so here we have a vibrant potential economies and new markets to tap into it," she added

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