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92% of Gulf companies use social networking in business activities

Arab News

27 August 2016
Jeddah - Social media channels such as Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp and LinkedIn have become a key factor supporting the work of small- and medium-sized companies (SMEs) in the Arab region, a recent report showed.

Ninety-two percent of SMEs in the GCC countries already use social networking in running their businesses.

A report released by Orient Planet group titled "Social media as a business tool for Small and Medium Enterprises in the Arab world," revealed that the number of Arab Internet users is unprecedentedly increasing.

Arabs use these social networking platforms for communication, and exchange of information with families and friends.

It is expected that the number of Internet users is set to rise in the Arab world to 226 million users by 2018, according to the Arab Economy Knowledge Report 2015-2016.

To take advantage of the tremendous opportunities presented by this growth, many companies, especially small and medium ones, are interested in changing their strategies to include the digital world, as part of their efforts, to greatly reach the target markets at a reasonable cost.

The report results revealed that through studying the size of social networking, it became clear that Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are the companies' most popular platforms, in order to create and collect content, and to communicate with existing and potential customers throughout the region.

These companies are in need of strengthening their presence on these social platforms through producing unique and attractive content, the report added.

"Social networking poses as high-value tools for SMEs, because it offers plenty of benefits and at a reasonable cost as well. These social channels give SMEs the advantages of communication and transparency, which is considered a [silver] lining to gain a strong competitive merit in the market," the director general of Orient Planet said.

Hence, theses social networking sites are considered significant tools especially since many SMEs do not have the same level of resources as is the case in large companies; thus they are unable to compete in terms of financial resources and human capital.

According to a recent study, small companies have a better chance of success through social networks compared to larger counterparts, and this is clearly reflected in the report.

The study predicts that this sector will bring an additional $100 billion to the GDP, and up to 2 million jobs in the coming years in Gulf Cooperation Council countries alone.

In Dubai, for example, SMEs constitute 95 percent of all local companies, representing 42 percent of the workforce, which constitutes about 40 percent of the emirate's economy.

Saudi SMEs add 33 percent to the GDP and represent 25 percent of the total workforce.

© Arab News 2016


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