Kingdom records world’s highest Twitter penetration

Updated 28 December 2013

Kingdom records world’s highest Twitter penetration

Forty-one percent of Internet users in Saudi Arabia are on Twitter social network, according to a recent study. Thus, the Kingdom tops the world list of Twitter penetration as proportionate to the area and population.
According to the survey conducted by BI Intelligence, Saudi Arabia came in the first place worldwide in terms of the ratio of Twitter use, followed closely by Indonesia and Philippines in second and third places, respectively.
In the Middle East and North Africa, the UAE ranked second in terms of the number of Twitter users with 1.7 million accounts, followed by Kuwait and Qatar ranking third and fourth, respectively.
Information security expert Ammar Mardawi, executive director of Kindi Company, attributed the rapid spread of Twitter in Saudi Arabia to three main reasons, most notably the availability of high-speed Internet and smart mobile devices.
Smart phone penetration in the Kingdom exceeds 72 percent, he noted. Secondly, the hot climate makes the Internet in general and social networking sites in particular a real resort for the youth. Thirdly, a large group of journalists, intellectuals and athletes, as well as foreigners residing in the Kingdom, use Twitter network to communicate with each other and discuss various social and local issues and developments in the Arab world.
“These factors and others have contributed to the creation of more than a million new accounts on Twitter during the past year alone. Perhaps we will witness a similar increase next year that will keep Saudi Arabia among the top countries in terms of Internet penetration,” Mardawi added.
Similar studies are stated to have confirmed earlier the rapid growth of web-based social communication platforms, especially Twitter, in Saudi Arabia - home of more than half of the active users in the region.
Mardawi predicted the Saudi presence on various social networking sites to enrich the Arabic content and increase its industry, especially as more than 90 percent of Saudis prefer to read and watch content in Arabic than in foreign languages, pointing out that more than 90 million video clips are viewed daily on YouTube in Saudi Arabia alone.
The IB Intelligence study also found that one-third of Internet users in India, or more than 36 million, use Twitter, making India the third largest Twitter market worldwide after the United States and China.
In China, the most populous country in the world, there are 84.4 million Twitter users on, a relatively high figure considering that the network is officially banned in that country. However, Twitter penetration does not constitute a large percentage compared to the total number of Internet users in China.


Bank jobs go as HSBC and Emirates NBD reduce costs

Updated 15 November 2019

Bank jobs go as HSBC and Emirates NBD reduce costs

  • Others have also reduced headcount amid economic downturn and property market weakness

DUBAI: HSBC Holdings has laid off about 40 bankers in the UAE and Emirates NBD is cutting around 100 jobs, as banks in the Arab world’s second-biggest economy reduce costs.

The cuts come amid weak economic growth, especially in Dubai, which is suffering from a property downturn.

HSBC’s redundancies came after the London-based bank reported a sharp fall in earnings and warned of a costly restructuring, as interim CEO Noel Quinn seeks to tackle its problems head-on.

HSBC has about 3,000 staff in the UAE, part of a nearly 10,000-strong workforce in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey.

The cuts at Dubai’s largest lender Emirates NBD came in consumer sales and liabilities, one source said, while a second played down the significance of the move.

HSBC and Emirates NBD declined to comment.

“The cuts are part of cost cutting and rationalizing to drive efficiencies in a challenging market,” the second source said.

Other banks have also reduced staff this year. UAE central bank data shows local banks laid off 446 people in the 12 months until the end of September. Foreign banks added staff in the same period.

Staff at local banks account for over 80 percent of the 35,518 banking employees in the country.

The merger between Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Union Commercial Bank and Al Hilal Bank saw hundreds of redundancies.

Commercial Bank International (CBI) said it would offer voluntary retirement to employees in September, which sources said saw over 100 departures. Standard Chartered, too, cut over 100 jobs in the UAE in September.

Rating agency Fitch warned in September a weakening property market would put more pressure on the UAE’s banking sector.