Web users in ME to hit 413 million by 2015

Updated 02 October 2013
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Web users in ME to hit 413 million by 2015

JEDDAH: FADIA JIFFRY


Internet users in the Middle East are currently estimated at 90 million and are expected to reach 413 million by the year 2015. Daily social media activity among Internet users in MENA region is 88 percent, with over 36,000 new Facebook users alone coming up every day in the region.
Saudi Arabia and UAE have the highest rates of smartphone penetration at 63 percent and 61 percent respectively.
“I believe it is clear that the number of Internet users in the Middle East is increasing with time. This is a fact,” says Saud Kateb, New Media professor at King Abdulaziz University. “The use of social media is reaching global level, especially in Saudi Arabia. Internet and smartphone penetration in Saudi Arabia have been rising among other Gulf countries. People, both men and women, use social media to communicate and share their views; be it political or religious,” he said.
Topping the list of the top 10 countries in Internet penetration is Bahrain at 77 percent followed by UAE at 71 percent, Oman 68.8 percent, Kuwait 62 percent, Qatar 61 percent, Saudi Arabia 60 percent, Iran 53.3 percent, Lebanon 52 percent, Jordan 48 percent and Oman 28 percent.
The average broadband speed in Middle East grew to 3.7 Mbps in 2012 from 3.1 Mbps in 2011, registering a 20 percent increase in a year. Four out of ten Internet users in the Middle East purchase goods online. Saudi Arabia being the second largest e-commerce market in the GCC, saw $520 million in e-commerce sales in 2011.
E-commerce sales in MENA is expected to reach an average of $15 billion by the year 2015.
“People in Saudi Arabia are more inclined to use e-commerce nowadays,” says Kateb, adding: “In the beginning, people didn’t trust the method of online payments and were afraid to use e-commerce due to privacy and security purposes, but now it has become a habit.”
Today, online methodologies have completely taken over traditional forms of business communication. The value and rapidity of trade has improved significantly over the past decade due to the Internet. These platforms are of vital significance for businesses and individuals in their quest to make use of social media to develop their professional brand name or individual image.


Japan to trial ‘world’s first urine test’ to spot cancer

Updated 17 April 2018
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Japan to trial ‘world’s first urine test’ to spot cancer

  • Previous research has shown a new blood test has potential to detect eight different kinds of tumors before they spread
  • The research starts in April and will run until September

TOKYO: A Japanese firm is poised to carry out what it hailed as the world’s first experiment to test for cancer using urine samples, which would greatly facilitate screening for the deadly disease.
Engineering and IT conglomerate Hitachi developed the basic technology to detect breast or colon cancer from urine samples two years ago.
It will now begin testing the method using some 250 urine samples, to see if samples at room temperature are suitable for analysis, Hitachi spokesman Chiharu Odaira told AFP.
“If this method is put to practical use, it will be a lot easier for people to get a cancer test, as there will be no need to go to a medical organization for a blood test,” he said.
It is also intended to be used to detect paediatric cancers.
“That will be especially beneficial in testing for small children” who are often afraid of needles, added Odaira.
Research published earlier this year demonstrated that a new blood test has shown promise toward detecting eight different kinds of tumors before they spread elsewhere in the body.
Usual diagnostic methods for breast cancer consist of a mammogram followed by a biopsy if a risk is detected.
For colon cancer, screening is generally conducted via a stool test and a colonoscopy for patients at high risk.
The Hitachi technology centers around detecting waste materials inside urine samples that act as a “biomarker” — a naturally occurring substance by which a particular disease can be identified, the company said in a statement.
The procedure aims to improve the early detection of cancer, saving lives and reducing the medical and social cost to the country, Odaira explained.
The experiment will start this month until through September in cooperation with Nagoya University in central Japan.
“We aim to put the technology in use in the 2020s, although this depends on various things such as getting approval from the authorities,” Odaira said.