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Saudi Arabia's Neom sparks social media explosion

Social media monitoring firm reports more than 60,000 mentions of Neom since last week's launch

Saudi Arabia's Neom sparks social media explosion
Neom was a buzzing topic surrounding Saudi Arabia on social media.

The launch of Saudi Arabia's futuristic city Neom has led to more than 60,000 mentions on social media across the world.

Saudi Arabia's crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, revealed plans to build Neom which stretches borders into both Egypt and Jordan last week.

According to monitoring service Meltwater India & Middle East, the announcement ignited an overwhelming amount of conversation in the span of one week.

Over 75 percent of social media chatter was taking place in Arabic, followed by 24 percent in English - no surprise given that the highest volume of mentions was from Saudi Arabia, followed by the United States and the UAE.

Some of the most used keywords on social media when discussing Neom were ‘Vision 2030', ‘Next Generation' and ‘Future', Meltwater added.

Neom was not the only buzzing topic surrounding Saudi Arabia on social media, as ‘Sophia', the first robot to ever be granted citizenship, was also mentioned over 4,000 times in one week.

Christo Van Wyk, area director at Meltwater India & Middle East, said: "The announcement comes in line with Saudi Arabia's 2030 vision to diversify its economy and reduce dependence on oil. From what we're seeing across social media there's an overall positive sentiment when discussing Neom. Today, GCC countries such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE are distinguishing themselves as global leaders in technology and artificial intelligence."

Neom, short for Neo-Mustaqbal, a Latin-Arabic term meaning "new future", is scheduled to start taking shape in 2020 with the main city opening five years later.

The Crown Prince told Bloomberg last week that the first phase of the giant project will be Neom Bay, which will be like the Hamptons in New York.

The plan includes a bridge spanning the Red Sea, connecting the proposed city with Egypt and the rest of Africa. Some 10,000 square miles have been allocated for the development of an urban area stretching into Jordan and Egypt.

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