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Zoho to increase presence in the GCC

Company announces more Arabic support, startup program and local alliances

The UAE is Zoho's fastest growing region, says Hyther Nizam, President MEA Zoho Corp.
The UAE is Zoho's fastest growing region, says Hyther Nizam, President MEA Zoho Corp.

Zoho is planning to increase its presence in the UAE and GCC, after growing 100% in the UAE last year.

The cloud-based business software specialist announced a number of initiatives including the launch of its Arabic website zoho.com/ar, and alliance with payment processing company PayTabs.

The company said it has achieved over 100% growth in the UAE last year, and 71% growth in the GCC region. In the past year, Zoho opened its Dubai office, which also acts as regional headquarters, significantly expanded its partner network to support local businesses and participated in local events to improve engagement with its customers.

The company also launched VAT-compliant local versions of its accounting software, Zoho Books in KSA and Bahrain. Zoho Books has been accredited by Federal Tax Authority (FTA) and General Authority of Zakat and Tax (GAZT).

"The UAE is the fastest growing region for us, and we are investing more to strengthen our position here," said Hyther Nizam, President MEA, Zoho Corp. "The Arabic website would make software accessible and approachable for more people, while PayTabs integration will provide businesses a seamless payment gateway to make transactions without any hassles. This is a first-of-its-kind integration in the GCC region where an accounting software and a payment gateway software have come together to streamline payment acceptance and accounting."

Zoho said it has also invested in product localisation, with Arabic language support, inclusion of local currencies in products, and it is also adding Arabic UI in its apps, starting with Zoho CRM. Moreover, thousands of pages of content have been translated and made available in Arabic at zoho.com/ar, and more pages are being added. The company also offers customer support in Arabic.

The partnership with PayTabs in Bahrain will see the integration of PayTabs integration with Zoho Books. This will mean that businesses will be able to accept online payments from its customers effortlessly, with 168 currencies accepted through PayTabs. Businesses can also offer payment methods including traditional options like Visa and MasterCard, businesses can offer regional payment methods like SADAD and MADA in KSA, OmanNet in Oman, and KNet in Kuwait. Customer payments and transaction fees are captured separately in a clearing account in Zoho Books improving record keeping and the reconciliation process.

"From the perspective of PayTabs, we are always looking out for ways to simplify our entrepreneurs and business owner's lives," said PayTabs Founder & CEO, Abdulaziz Al Jouf. "Integrating with Zoho Books, the region's premier software company, will now offer multiple payment options for our mutual customer base, while streamlining and automating the accounting of their businesses. This will enable businesses to expand their network as it will facilitate payments from across the GCC and we are extremely proud of this collaboration."

Zoho has also introduced its Zoho One for Startups program to the region. Zoho offers complimentary access to Zoho One, the company's flagship platform comprising 40+ products to startups.

"The aim is to help startups focus on building a profitable business from the ground up using industry standard and world-class tools while putting their hard-earned money into their products," said Ali Shabdar, Business Development Director MEA, Zoho Corp. "Startups can stay for at least a year on the platform with no strings attached. However, we expect that within a year or so, a successful startup to come out of the early stages showing signs of revenue backed by our powerful system in the back-end to help them grow faster. At that stage we would ask them to consider paying for the service and support them with their specific needs," he added.

The program was launched in UAE in February during the Step Conference, and will be launched in KSA later this month, with Bahrain and Kuwait as well as other countries in the region to follow suit shortly.