Yahoo to Launch Arabic Versions of its Properties

    August 25, 2009
    Chris Crum

Yahoo has announced its intent to acquire, an Arab portal that reaches one in every three people online in its region. That accounts for about 16.5 million people. Yahoo says this is its largest geographic expansion in years.

"This deal is part of Yahoo!’s broader strategy to grow our international business, particularly in emerging markets," says Yahoo Senior Vice President, Emerging Markets Keith Nilsson. "In many countries, vast populations — and advertisers — are just starting to come online. The potential is tremendous. Yahoo! has a large and growing audience in these markets today, and our acquisition of Maktoob represents the kind of investment we’re making to cater to the needs of these promising regions."


Yahoo says it will join forces with Maktoob’s team to create locally relevant content, sevices, and programming. Still, the company intends to implement the Yahoo formula in the region, with locally-based editorial teams. Yahoo plans on launching Arabic versions of Yahoo Mail, Messenger, Search, and the Yahoo home page, followed by local versions of its News, Sports, and Finance properties.

Yahoo and Maktoob"Arabs are vastly underserved by today’s Internet offerings," says Nilsson. "The World Bank estimates that there are 320 million Arabic speakers around the globe, yet less than one per cent of online content is written in their language (despite a vibrant Arabic blogosphere). We have a big opportunity to meet this growing demand, and we think Yahoo!, building on Maktoob’s local expertise, brings the scale and heft to draw many more people online in the region –- and we plan to give them compelling reasons to log on."

Financial terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed. However, Yahoo has set up an information site about the deal, which will be updated accordingly.