Karaz Linen Partners With MoEngage

Riyadh: Karaz Linen, Saudi Arabia’s premium bedding and home products brand, has partnered with MoEngage, an insights-led customer engagement platform for engaging and retargeting customers.Founded in 2010, the bed and bath brand currently operates 24 stores across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Post providing an excellent in-store customer experience, Karaz Linen has also shifted its operations online.The brands plan to leverage MoEngage’s capabilities to collect data from its physical stores and online to provide a true omnichannel experience to its customers, which previously they were not able to achieve.“With presence across physical and online, we faced major challenges in collecting data under one place. Using MoEngage, we plan to curate all the data related to a customer to better personalize our offerings. Additionally, MoEngage will also help us in driving the communication”, said Abdulaziz Arjah, e-commerce Manager at Karaz Linen.Karaz Linen also plans to leverage the smart recommendations feature of MoEngage to understand the best time to send and the best channel to utilize for all the communications. Additionally, MoEngage will also assist Karaz Linen in understanding the customer journey flow and provide insights into the interaction that each customer is having, online and offline.Speaking about the partnership, Sweta Duseja, Director of Customer Success at MoEngage, said, “We are elated to welcome Karaz Linen as part of the MoEngage family. As a brand, Karaz Linen has always kept customers at heart and we are more than happy to support them in their journey of elevating customer experience and satisfaction”.Karaz Linen joins the growing list of 1200+ global companies across 35 countries, such as Azadea Group, Commercial Bank of Dubai, Landmark Group, Apparel Group, Airtel, Ola, Oyo, and Mashreq, that trust MoEngage to deliver a consistent experience across multiple devices and touchpoints.

The PR Academy MENA offers CIPR Specialist Diploma

DUBAI : The PR Academy MENA announced the first-ever CIPR Specialist Diploma in Sustainability Communication in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The program is designed to equip communication professionals with the necessary skills and knowledge to tackle sustainability issues in business, government, and non-governmental organizations.Reem Masswadeh, Founder of PR Academy MENA said, "With COP28 and the UAE's Year of Climate Change, sustainability communication has taken on a new level of importance in the MENA region. It is more important than ever for communication professionals to be able to effectively communicate about sustainability issues. We are excited to offer this program to our students and to provide them with the practical skills and knowledge they need to become successful in the field of sustainability communication."The CIPR Specialist Diploma in Sustainability Communication is an in-depth, nine-month program that explores the ethical and strategic aspects of sustainability communication. It is designed to equip students with the latest theories and practices in the field, in addition to experiential learning opportunities. Students will gain a comprehensive understanding of sustainability and sustainability communication and will be able to develop and implement effective communication plans.Dr Kevin Ruck, Co-founder, PR Academy in the UK said, "This new qualification will equip practitioners with the knowledge and tools to lead an organisation's strategic management of sustainability communication with confidence".The program is set to open in June and will be available in English for practitioners who have two years' broad communication management experience. You can enrol now and interested applicants are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.

NxtWave empowers next-generation Indian Tech innovators

In an endeavour to provide students with enhanced exposure to 4.0 technologies, and strengthen their resolve to build careers in these emerging technologies, NxtWave, an upskilling company, recently held a four-day 4.0 Tech Camp in Dubai, UAE for its students. 27 students were selected for the tech camp out of thousands across India who participated in the Fly High Challenge, a unique challenge that was designed by NxtWave for its students to recognise the next wave of technology leaders. The challenge assessed their coding skills and encouraged consistent learning among students to secure their seats for the tech camp.Speaking about the initiative, CEO of NxtWave, Rahul Attuluri said - “The 4.0 Tech Camp was designed to further encourage students and create an opportunity for them to explore newer forte of Technology. By participating in the event, students gained valuable insights into how the world of technology is evolving and how future careers are going to be shaped by this.”He added, “NxtWave has been extremely successful in creating job-ready tech professionals through its training programs. Over the last couple of years, 1250+ companies, from fast-growing startups to Fortune 500 giants have hired thousands of NxtWave learners. 4.0 Tech Camp is another step forward to provide industry-relevant exposure to Indian youth.”During their time in Dubai, the students visited Samsung Headquarters Gulf and Samsung SmartThings Home, an Ecosystem of Samsung devices that works together using IoT technology. Students got to know about Metaverse, Blockchain and Samsung’s work in these technologies and the opportunities that lie ahead from Mr. Alaa Alsweileh, Head of Digital, Gulf, Samsung Electronics. They participated in an engaging quiz later.The students also attended masterclasses where they learned from industry experts like Mr. Nikhil Nair, Consumer Business Leader of the Middle East, Turkey & Africa, HTC Vive; and Mr. Sonam Kaithan, a Fintech leader in UAE. During the interactions with experts, students learned how companies are shifting their businesses towards the metaverse, and about blockchain technology. They witnessed some cutting-edge projects happening at these companies and understood the vast career opportunities available to students who are skilled in these technologies.At the 4.0 Tech Camp, the students participated in a day-long hackathon where they exchanged and gained knowledge about ongoing digital transformation in India. They learned about inculcating an entrepreneurial mindset and creating solutions to the problems they face and turning them into ?businesses through value creation. After special sessions on how D2C companies are built using technology and case studies of successful tech companies, students participated in teams, and came up with innovative startup ideas. Using no-code tools, they got the website, product, and vision ready by the end of the hackathon.Speaking about her experience at 4.0 Tech Camp, Rashi Chauhan, 2nd year Engineering student from Noida said, ? "I learnt a lot about Artificial Intelligence, Metaverse, Blockchain, NFTs, Fintech and many more emerging technologies. While working as a team in a hackathon, I improved my communication and leadership skills. This tech camp pushed me out of my comfort zone and increased my awareness of these technologies drastically."Apart from the intense learning, the students also got the chance to explore engineering marvels in Dubai by visiting iconic places like the Dubai Mall, the Burj Khalifa, and the Dubai Frame. The city tour provided them with a glimpse of the rich cultural and technological landscape of Dubai. The event was a success and is expected to continue in the future, inspiring more students to become leaders in the field of 4.0 technologies.

Middle East consumers willing to pay more for luxury excursions

Dubai : Sustainability is becoming an increasingly important consideration within the Middle East’s luxury travel sector, especially in the UAE where 61% of residents say they are willing to pay a premium for more responsible, eco-friendly and sustainable tourism experiences. Trends and opportunities within the high-end travel segment will represent key focuses throughout the 30th edition of Arabian Travel Market (ATM), which will run from 1-4 May 2023 at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC).According to YouGov’s Global Travel & Tourism Whitepaper 2023: Luxury travel post-pandemic, one in 10 consumers has stayed in luxury eco-friendly accommodation during the past three years. This trend is especially prevalent among high-income travellers, whose sustainable luxury hotel stays have increased by 50% during the same period.The UAE topped global rankings in terms of the value placed on exploring, with almost two-thirds (58%) of respondents reporting that travel has become more important to them since the Covid-19 pandemic. In terms of luxury travel priorities, a quarter of those living in the Emirates are looking for great entertainment, whereas 19% place the biggest emphasis on premium-quality accommodation when booking trips.Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director ME, Arabian Travel Market, said, “The Middle East has developed an unparalleled international reputation for luxury tourism, with consumers across the region placing a high value on bespoke, memorable and environmentally responsible experiences. This is especially pertinent given ATM 2023’s theme, ‘Working Towards Net Zero’. Industry leaders will be showcasing the innovative ways in which they are delivering luxury, sustainable travel experiences across the Gulf and beyond.”In addition to sustainable luxury travel, consumers’ appetite for authentic excursions is also on the rise within this segment. Over half (51%) of affluent tourists have sought more meaningful travel experiences since the pandemic, and more than a quarter (27%) are willing to pay extra for secluded villas and chalets. These figures coincide with growth across the Gulf’s travel industry. By 2028, the value of the UAE’s outbound sector is set to reach $30.5 billion, Saudi Arabia is on course to hit $27 billion, Kuwait is expected to grow to $17 billion, and Qatar is likely to exceed $13 billion.Premium travel will be placed under the microscope at ATM 2023, as high-profile names from across the sector gather in Dubai to discuss luxury-related trends, challenges and opportunities during the session entitled, Sustainable Luxury: At What Cost?. Moderated by Joe Mortimer, Editor-at-Large at Destinations of the World News, speakers including Amir Golbarg, Senior Vice President Operations - Middle East & Africa at Minor Hotels; Candice D’Cruz, VP Luxury Brands at Marriott International; and Nadia Ibrahim, Member of the Board of Directors at the UN Global Compact, will discuss a range of industry-critical topics, such as the environmental impact of luxury hospitality and the most effective methods of carbon offsetting.ATM 2023 will also see the return of International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM) Arabia 2023, a luxury-focused event dedicated to high-end destinations, premium accommodation and bespoke tourism experiences, which will run on days two and three of the show. The upcoming edition of ILTM Arabia will deliver extensive networking and knowledge-sharing opportunities to participants, as 44 exhibitors engage with a select group of buyers catering to high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) across the GCC and broader region.ATM 2023 will feature an array of exclusive brands from the Middle East’s luxury hospitality segment, including Kerzner International’s Atlantis The Palm and Atlantis The Royal; Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts’ Burj Al Arab; Caesars Palace Dubai; Emaar Hospitality Group; and more. The ILTM Lounge will also host a range of international luxury exhibitors, such as Japan’s Hotel New Otani Tokyo Executive House ZEN; Adaaran Resorts Maldives; Switzerland’s Red Carnation Hotel Collection; France’s Airelles; and The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach in the United States, among others.The 30th edition of ATM will explore the future of sustainable travel in line with its theme, ‘Working Towards Net Zero’. Having officially initiated its journey to net zero, the conference programme will explore how innovative sustainable travel trends are likely to evolve, allowing delegates to identify growth strategies within key vertical sectors, while providing a platform for regional experts to explore a sustainable future ahead of COP28, which will take place in November 2023 at Expo City Dubai.The conference will also feature a sustainability category at its annual exhibitor awards for the first time. Exhibiting organisations will be recognised based on the extent to which they have considered the environmental impact of their stands, as well as their efforts to reduce their carbon footprint. ATM 2023 is held in conjunction with Dubai World Trade Centre and its strategic partners include Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) as the Destination Partner, Emirates as the Official Airline Partner, IHG Hotels & Resorts as the Official Hotel Partner and Al Rais Travel as the Official DMC Partner.

Faisal Ahmed promoted to Head of Performance, Media for dentsu MENA

Dubai : Dentsu today announces the promotion of Faisal Ahmed to Head of Performance, Media for dentsu MENA, a newly created role designed to strengthen client focus and provide operational leadership for Performance across the group’s media brands Carat, iProspect and dentsu X.Leading a consolidated team of performance specialists across departments, Faisal will lead the integration of digital products, tools and capabilities to maximize opportunities for clients and respond to the changing needs of consumers. Encouraging the adoption of best practice in deploying relevant experiences, insights and technology, Faisal will be tasked with driving progressive and effective performance media strategies for dentsu’s clients across the MENA region.Faisal has a wealth of industry experience with over 17 years’ specialising in software engineering, digital performance, analytics and client management roles, of which he has spent over 10 years with dentsu in various leadership positions. “With the continued pace of digital transformation, brands and businesses should be taking a more holistic approach to digital performance management. Agencies are no exception; integrating our performance teams to combine the right talent, technologies, platforms, and processes will better enable us to deliver a top-class digital experience for our clients and partners. I am delighted to appoint Faisal to spearhead this effort, his deep industry experience and leadership will be invaluable to further strengthen our Performance Media capabilities and services across MENA,” said Tarek Daouk, CEO of dentsu MENA.Commenting on his new role, Faisal added, “I’m delighted to be taking on this new challenge with dentsu. By shifting our digital specialists away from a siloed single agency model into a hybrid, multi-disciplinary digital performance effort, we will both drive efficiency and improve quality. From knowledge-sharing across teams, to standardised outputs across the discipline, we have an opportunity to reimagine ways of working to both empower our teams and drive growth for our clients who are trusting us to do great work.”

Kinetic Brands appointed to create the brand for Intellectual property firm

Dubai : Following a multi-way international pitch, Kinetic Brands has been appointed to deliver the new brand strategy, identity and website for a new unrivalled super-regional IP firm servicing and managing the intellectual property (IP) portfolios for some of the world’s leading brands across the Middle East, North Africa, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia.Kinetic Brands will work with Gulf Capital, one of the largest and most active private equity firms based in Dubai, as well as the newly formed leadership team from the merged firms, CWB Group and PETOŠEVI? Group to define and craft the brand strategy, design implementation and transition of the new identity across all touchpoints including digital platforms.The new flagship brand will see the merged entity take a unique position to provide clients with the full suite of IP services across the 52 countries it is set to operate in.Halim Shehadeh, the newly appointed Group CEO for the merged firms, said: “The appointment of Kinetic Brands followed a rigorous pitch process amongst local and global agencies. Kinetic was successfully appointed due to their deep expertise and senior advisory and delivery team. As we move through the early stages of the project, we are very happy with our choice and look forward to announcing the new brand shortly”.Hannah Powlesland, Founder of Kinetic Brands, said: “We are delighted to have been appointed to deliver this important project for Gulf Capital, CWB and PETOŠEVI?. It is a significant win for the agency having started our operations in 2020 and is testament to the strong experience our senior Kinetic consultants hold”.

Power League Gaming launches Flux to help brands enter gaming, esports

Dubai : PLG, MENA’S leading and most innovative gaming and esports agency has launched its new service Flux, in response to increasing demand from brands for lower cost base solutions to enter the gaming and esports space. As a multi service agency, PLG delivers strategic advice, builds branded gaming ecosystems, hosts on and offline esports tournaments and drives strategies which drives audiences to client content via social media, influencer and paid for digital marketing campaigns with measured ROI. Over the past 24 months, PLG has witnessed unprecedented growth from regional brands for building marketing campaigns and branded content to reach gaming and esports audiences.The size of the MENA gaming market is projected to increase 19 per cent to more than $5 billion by 2025, from 2019, according to a report by Boston Consulting Group [BCG]. Newzoo predicts that by 2024 the global gaming livestream audience will be 830.3 Mn CAGR of 9.2% over 2019 - 2024 with the Middle East and Africa growing at 15.1%.As audiences gravitate to this medium, SMEs and those with smaller budgets are looking for ways to reach them in strategic and engaging ways at affordable rates. Gaming and esports are fast becoming an essential part of the marketing mix as mass reach channels that provide highly engaged and loyal audiences. PLG has identified the need to offer lower cost solutions to bring brands into the gaming and esports space and to serve the fast-growing demand. The average esports production and marketing campaign in the global industry costs in the range of $150 - $500K so can be out of reach for brands with smaller budgets. PLG Flux offers clients a lower touch solution that comprises a mix of branded content and toolkits, social media marketing, end to end community management, influencer marketing and downstream trending data and reporting with entry costs from a much more affordable range starting at $30K.PLG Flux’s toolkit of solutions, products and services are specifically engineered to acquire, engage and retain audiences on the brand’s behalf, focused toward attaining tangible ROI. In addition to the flexible social content creation solutions, PLG FLUX’s end to end gaming and esports influencer marketing unit consistently delivers engagement averages circa 11% (industry average 5%).“PLG’s social and influencer marketing division (FLUX), has delivered continual success by enabling the Pizza Hut brand to acquire, engage and retain Arabic Gen Z and M gaming audiences. Thorough PLG’s range of content, social and influencer marketing strategies, Pizza Hut has built scalable social platforms and continually drives conversations within the MENA esports and gaming community. This approach has enabled the brand to build meaningful relationships by serving the Arabic gaming and esports communities with the right content, at the right time.” Said Beverley D'Cruz, General Manager - Pizza Hut Middle East and Pakistan.Commenting on the launch of Flux, PLG’s CEO Matthew Pickering “as a company built from the ground up by expert gamers and marketing professionals, we are laser focused on getting the right strategies in place for our clients so that their brands can form long lasting relationships with this very important audience category. Entering the space at speed in meaningful ways is critical for clients to become and remain relevant to these communities as we move toward a Web 3.0 world. We are excited to be leading the way with Flux, enabling more brands to start their journey engaging and building relationships with gaming and esports audiences.

Kantar fuels growth in the Middle East and Africa

Dubai : Kantar, the world’s leading marketing data and analytics company today announces three senior appointments in support of the next phase of company growth in the Middle East and Africa region.  Ndeye Diagne has been appointed Managing Director, West, East & Central Africa and joins the MEA Leadership team. Inclusion & Diversity champion and award-winning keynote speaker, Ndeye holds an impressive record of client successes and positive impact on brands operating in and outside the region. She is deeply enthusiastic about Africa and its potential and is the founder of Africa Life – Kantar’s most distinctive insights programme about Africa, its trends and people. Ndeye grew her career through a series of critical roles – from Managing Director of Francophone Africa to Managing Director for Nigeria, and, ultimately Managing Director for West Africa in 2021.  Daniel Oseman adds Chief Growth Officer, West, East & Central Africa, to his remit as Managing Director, East Africa. Having led Kantar’s East Africa Insights business for the last three years, Daniel passionately believes in the power of insight to help brands grow. With over 14 years of research experience, Daniel has extensive knowledge of brands’ business challenges in the region, making him an ideal partner to help guide our clients. In his new dual role, he will help deepen Kantar’s data and technology strategy to shape the brands of tomorrow. Astrid Ricketts appointed Sustainable Transformation Practice Lead, Middle East & Africa. Astrid has been integral to the launch of Kantar’s Sustainability Practice in the region, delivering strategic insight and advice to help businesses and brands futureproof through sustainable transformation. Insights from Kantar’s Sustainability Index further help shape solutions to societal and environmental problems facing consumers and businesses today.  “I’m delighted to see our talent grow into roles of increased responsibility. Ndeye, Dan and Astrid are inspiring leaders and well-known industry experts whose success is shaping the brands of tomorrow. Also, they are testimony to our commitment to creating rewarding career paths and meaningful progression within the company. I look forward to working with Ndeye, Dan and Astrid as we pursue growth for the business and the brands we serve,” said Adeola Tejumola, Executive Managing Director for Middle East & Africa.  Kantar’s people are at the heart of its global growth strategy; as the company continues accelerating its innovation journey to become the indispensable brand partner to the world’s top companies.

Exotic beverage brand Rubicon expands in the UAE

Dubai: Rubicon Exotic, the Internationally renowned beverage company, is expanding its presence in the UAE just in time for the summer season. The brand's exotic range of flavorful juices and beverages will now be available at Zoom Supermarkets, Emarat, and ENOC gas stations throughout the region.From its very first drink, 'Passionade,' to its extensive product range that includes sparkling, no added sugar, organic coconut water, kids' options, classic flavors, spring water and exotic blends, Rubicon Exotic is dedicated to offering a wide range of special products to cater to the unique preferences of its customers. The brand's juices are enjoyed on their own and also widely used as ingredients in cocktails, mocktails, and desserts.Rubicon Exotic has been a leading international beverage company for over four decades, known for its use of the finest, authentic ingredients and its superior quality. Its juice drinks are now enjoyed in over 30 countries worldwide, and the brand promises to showcase delicious exotic fruits from around the world through its products.UAE residents can find Rubicon Exotic products at various retail stores, including Spinneys, Waitrose, Carrefour, Lulu, Zoom, Geant, Choithrams, Abu Dhabi Coop, Sharjah Coop, Al Maya, and Aswaaq. The brand's products are also available online at Lulu online, Carrefour, Amazon,, Noon, Instashop, Spinneys , Talabat and Mumzworld.Rubicon Exotic's flavorful and healthy options are an excellent way to reduce dehydration and boost energy in the body. The brand's expansion in the UAE demonstrates its commitment to providing customers with convenient access to its delicious products, and it looks forward to continuing to delight consumers with its exotic flavors.

Wego named the #1 travel app for flight searches and bookings

DUBAI : Wego has emerged as the #1 travel app for flight search and booking in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region with a year-over-year (YOY) growth of over 157.7% and 143,002 downloads in February 2023, according to data from data was gathered by analyzing the download rates of 1,062 travel apps that offer flight and hotel search capabilities. Wego has also earned the distinction of being the most downloaded travel app for flight-focused brands in the MENA region, and secondly, it is the most downloaded travel app under Meta and OTA categories in Kuwait since September 2022. With holidays such as Eid Fitr approaching soon, the app's popularity is expected to rise steadily.Wego is an award-winning travel app and one of the largest online travel marketplaces in the MENA & Asia Pacific. With its extensive network of airline and hotel partners, Wego offers travelers a comprehensive range of travel options, allowing them to find the best deals and make informed decisions about their travel plans.Whether traveling for adventure, work, family, or other reasons, users can rely on Wego to provide them with a seamless booking experience.Wego's success can be attributed to its user-friendly interface, which allows users to browse and compare flight and hotel room options from multiple airlines and hotels in one place.Moreover, throughout the year 2022, Wego has introduced a string of new updates and features for its users, like easier payment gateways with its collaboration with Tabby and Apple Pay. This, coupled with the app's competitive pricing, has helped Wego secure its position as the top travel app for flight search and booking in the MENA region.

Alibaba Cloud unveils new AI model

Dubai: Alibaba Cloud, the digital technology and intelligence backbone of Alibaba Group, today unveiled its latest large language model, Tongyi Qianwen. The technology innovator will integrate the new AI model into Alibaba’s various businesses to improve user experience in the near future. The company will also provide its customers and developers with access to the model to enable them to create customised AI features in a cost-effective way.In addition, Alibaba Cloud announced lower cost options of key cloud products including their Elastic Compute Service (ECS) and Object Storage Service (OSS) by introducing new ECS instances, OSS Reserved Capacity (OSS-RC) and OSS Anywhere Reserved Capacity (OSS-ARC). The move aims to make computing more accessible and affordable for companies looking to unlock emerging opportunities in the new AI era.“We have entered an unprecedented technological watershed moment, underpinned by generative AI and cloud computing, and businesses across all sectors have started to embrace intelligence transformation in order to stay ahead of their games,” said Daniel Zhang, Chairman and CEO of Alibaba Group and CEO of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence. “As one of the global leading cloud computing service providers, Alibaba Cloud is also committed to making computing and AI services more inclusive and accessible to enterprises and developers, so they can uncover more insights, explore new business models for expansion, and create more cutting-edge products and services for the society.” Integrating Tongyi Qianwen into Alibaba’s businesses and building tailored models with customersTongyi Qianwen will be integrated into all business applications across Alibaba’s ecosystem in the near future, from enterprise communication, intelligent voice assistance, e-commerce, search-to-navigation and entertainment, to further enhance user experiences. Capable of answering questions in both Chinese and English languages, the model will be first deployed on DingTalk, Alibaba’s digital collaboration workplace and application development platform, and Tmall Genie, a provider of IoT-enabled smart home appliances.Tongyi Qianwen-empowered DingTalk is designed to make workplace communications more efficient. For example, it can summarize meeting notes, turn meeting conversations into texts, write emails, and create first drafts of business proposals or promotion campaign ideas using simple prompts. Users can also take a photo of a draft idea on paper and turn it into a mini application on DingTalk in a split second.Tongyi Qianwen-empowered Tmall Genie will be able to generate more engaging and vivid conversations with users. For instance, it can develop and tell stories for children, provide healthy diet recipes, offer travel tips and recommend background music for a work out.To further facilitate the intelligence transformation for enterprises to reap the benefits of AI-driven innovation, Alibaba Cloud will also offer its clients access to Tongyi Qianwen on cloud and help them build their own customized large language models. By fine-tuning Tongyi Qianwen with customers’ proprietary intelligence and industrial know-how in a secure cloud environment, enterprises can establish their tailored AI models on cloud to suit their specific business needs. This is expected to spark a new wave of growth momentum for customers, without them having to go through resource-intensive and expensive pre-training processes for building foundational models.In addition, developers will soon be able to access Alibaba Cloud’s Tongyi Qianwen to create their AI applications at scale. This will further bolster the AI software ecosystem across sectors ranging from logistics to media, finance, manufacturing, energy, retail and more.Multimodal capabilities including image understanding and text-to-image will be added to the Tongyi Qianwen model soon to provide users with more compelling AI features.“Generative AI powered by large language models is ushering in an unprecedented new phase. In this latest AI era, we are equipped to create additional value for our customers and broader communities through our resilient public cloud infrastructure and proven AI capabilities,” said Jingren Zhou, CTO of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence.“We are witnessing a new paradigm of AI development where cloud and AI models are playing an essential role. By making this paradigm more inclusive, we hope to facilitate businesses from all industries with their intelligence transformation and, ultimately, help boost their business productivity, expand their expertise and capabilities while unlocking more exciting opportunities through innovations.”Tongyi Qianwen is based on Tongyi, Alibaba’s proprietary pre-trained model framework that unifies various AI models, including models that can turn text into images and short videos. Last year, Alibaba Cloud launched ModelScope, an open-source Model-as-a-Service (MaaS) platform that comes with hundreds of AI models including Tongyi-based text-to-image model for global developers and researchers. So far, with over 1 million active users, ModelScope has made 800 models available with over 16 million model downloads to-date. More accessible and affordable computing for enterprises and studentsDesigned for small and medium-sized (SME) enterprises, the new ECS Universal instance family provides the same stability of its similar product, while saving costs of up to 40%. It is suitable for SMEs conducting web applications and websites, enterprise office applications and offline data analysis.OSS-RC enables customers to reserve storage capacity in a specific region for a duration of one year. It reduces the capacity cost by up to 50% from pay-as-you-go prices. When customers have no requirement on storing their data in a specific region, they can create an OSS “Anywhere Bucket” to store data in a region chosen by Alibaba Cloud. OSS-ARC can then be used to reserve capacity for objects stored in OSS Anywhere Buckets. It reduces the capacity cost by up to 70% from pay-as-you-go prices.In order to make computing resources more accessible to developers in China, Alibaba Cloud has also announced free trials of core products for up to three months, including ECS and PolarDB databases. Alibaba Cloud will also provide 1,000 free training courses on cloud technologies as well as around 500 hands-on experiments based on real business scenarios for developers to get easy access to cloud technologies.

AZADEA Group announces major rollout of 10 brand debuts

ABU DHABI : AZADEA Group, a leading lifestyle retailer, has announced the opening of 23 new stores in Abu Dhabi’s Reem Mall as part of its strategy to continue expanding in the region. Visitors to the UAE capital’s newest entertainment, dining, and shopping destination will now have an even wider selection of top brands to pick from – including 10 franchises debuting in the emirate for the first time.As part of AZADEA’s expansion, Calzedonia, Deichmann, Flying Tiger Copenhagen, and Intimissimi all opened their first Abu Dhabi stores late last month, while Mood, Reserved, Salsa, and Tezenis will each open debut units imminently. New Shanghai and The Butcher Shop & Grill will also soon be introduced to Abu Dhabi consumers for the first time with debut restaurants. Among the other brands having either recently opened or set to open in the coming weeks are: Bershka, Boggi Milano, Decathlon, Eataly, KIKO Milano, Mango, Massimo Dutti, PAUL, Pull&Bear, Oysho, Sunglass Hut, Urban Outfitters, and Virgin Megastore.In keeping with AZADEA Group’s commitment to providing an unmatched shopping experience, the new brands make up a total footprint of 12,800sqm and support Reem Mall’s unique, all-in-one retail and dining experience. This new collection of popular brands will further cement the mall’s reputation as one of the Emirate’s leading leisure destinations and is a perfect fit for its wider surroundings, taking customer choice to a whole new level.“This new major development in Abu Dhabi represents a key milestone in our expansion strategy in the emirate,” said Walid Chahine, Chief Operating Officer of AZADEA Group. “We exist to provide our customers an entertaining and exciting way of life and are undergoing a promising growth phase in the region. Abu Dhabi continues to maintain its position as a leading destination for shopping and attractions with the launch of differentiated projects such as Reem Mall that provide residents and tourists with several leisure, entertainment, and retail options.”Steve Bunce, Chief Operating Officer of Reem Mall, added: “We are thrilled to witness the growing presence of our tenants as they open their stores and restaurants at Reem Mall. We are delighted to have AZADEA – one of the region’s leading retail and leisure groups with a prominent presence in the development – on board. We eagerly anticipate the response of our customers to the new stores, which started to roll out at the end of last month.”

The UAE increases tax threshold for startups

UAE: The Ministry of Finance (MoF) has issued Ministerial Decision No. 73 of 2023 on Small Business Relief for the purposes of Federal Decree-Law No. 47 of 2022 on the Taxation of Corporations and Businesses (Corporate Tax Law).The decision is issued in accordance with Article 21 of the Corporate Tax Law, which treats the taxable person as not having derived any taxable income in a given tax period where the revenue did not exceed a certain threshold.Small Business Relief is intended to support startups and other small or micro businesses by reducing their Corporate Tax burden and compliance costs. The Ministerial Decision on Small Business Relief specifies the revenue threshold and conditions for a taxable person to elect for Small Business Relief and clarifies the provisions of the carried forward Tax Losses and disallowed Net Interest Expenditure under the Small Business Relief scheme.stratThe Ministerial Decision on Small Business Relief stipulates the following:1. Taxable persons who are resident persons can claim Small Business Relief where their revenue in the relevant and previous tax periods is below AED3 million for each tax period. This means that once a taxable person exceeds the AED3 million revenue threshold in any tax period, the Small Business Relief will no longer be available.2. The AED3 million revenue threshold will apply to tax periods starting on or after 1st June 2023 and will only continue to apply to subsequent tax periods that end before or on 31st December 2026.3. Revenue can be determined based on the applicable accounting standards accepted in the UAE.4. Small Business Relief will not be available to Qualifying Free Zone Persons or members of Multinational Enterprises Groups (MNE Groups) as defined in Cabinet Decision No. 44 of 2020 on Organising Reports Submitted by Multinational Companies. MNE Groups are groups of companies with operations in more than one country that have consolidated group revenues of more than AED3.15 billion.5. In tax periods defined in the decision where businesses do not elect to apply for Small Business Relief, they will be able to carry forward any incurred Tax Losses and any disallowed Net Interest Expenditure from such tax periods, for use in future tax periods in which the Small Business Relief is not elected.6. With regard to the artificial separation of business, the Ministerial Decision specifies that where the Federal Tax Authority (FTA) establishes that taxable persons have artificially separated their business or business activity and the total revenue of the entire business or business activity exceeds AED3 million in any tax period and such persons have elected to apply for Small Business Relief, this would be considered an arrangement to obtain a Corporate Tax advantage under Clause (1) of Article 50 regarding the general anti-abuse rules of the Corporate Tax Law.

Gartner forecasts worldwide IT spending to grow 5.5% in 2023

DUBAI: Worldwide IT spending is projected to total $4.6 trillion in 2023, an increase of 5.5% from 2022, according to the latest forecast by Gartner, Inc. Despite continued global economic turbulence, all regions worldwide are projected to achieve IT spending growth in 2023.“Macroeconomic headwinds are not slowing digital transformation,” said John-David Lovelock, Distinguished VP Analyst at Gartner. “IT spending will remain strong, even as many countries are projected to have near-flat gross domestic product (GDP) growth and high inflation in 2023. Prioritization will be critical as CIOs look to optimize spend while using digital technology to transform the company’s value proposition, revenue and client interactions.”The software segment will see double-digit growth this year as enterprises prioritize spending to capture competitive advantages through increased productivity, automation and other software-driven transformation initiatives. Conversely, the devices segment will decline nearly 5% in 2023, as consumers defer device purchases due to declining purchasing power and a lack of incentive to buyAs enterprises navigate continued economic turbulence, the split of technologies being maintained versus those driving the business is apparent in their position relative to overall average IT spending growth.“CIOs face a balancing act that is evident in the dichotomies in IT spending,” said Lovelock. “For example, there is sufficient spending within data center markets to maintain existing on-premises data centers, but new spending has shifted to cloud options, as reflected in the growth in IT services.”The IT services segment will continue its growth trajectory through 2024, largely driven by the infrastructure-as-a-service market, which is projected to reach over 30% growth this year. For the first time, price is a key driver of increased spend for cloud services segments, rather than just increased usage.In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), IT spending is estimated to total $175.5 billion, up from $171.9 billion in 2022 Exposure from Bank Failures Remains Contained, but Tech CEOs Must Prepare for DisruptionThe collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, Signature Bank and Credit Suisse created a shockwave within the banking and tech industries. While exposure remains relatively contained, tech startups are likely to face renewed questions and scrutiny from stakeholders, clients and prospects.“This is not just a tech problem, as these firms lent money to all forms of startups – not just IT,” said Lovelock. “Tech CEOs must urgently ensure they are moving their organization forward by conserving working capital, monitoring the impact on cash, securing access to credit and keeping a close eye on talent and culture. Once the organization is properly prepared, tech CEOs can then direct and engage employees to find, accelerate and execute on market opportunities.”Tech Talent Shortages Continue Amidst LayoffsEven as layoffs continue to impact the tech industry at large, there is still a critical shortage of skilled IT labor. The demand for tech talent greatly outstrips the supply, which will continue until at least 2026 based on forecast IT spend.“Tech layoffs do not mean that the IT talent shortage is over,” said Lovelock. “IT spending on internal services is slowing in all industries, and enterprises are not keep up with wage rate increases. As a result, enterprises will spend more money to retain fewer staff and will turn to IT services firms to fill in the gaps.”Gartner’s IT spending forecast methodology relies heavily on rigorous analysis of the sales by over a thousand vendors across the entire range of IT products and services. Gartner uses primary research techniques, complemented by secondary research sources, to build a comprehensive database of market size data on which to base its forecast.The Gartner quarterly IT spending forecast delivers a unique perspective on IT spending across the hardware, software, IT services and telecommunications segments. These reports help Gartner clients understand market opportunities and challenges. The most recent IT spending forecast research is available to Gartner clients in “Gartner Market Databook, 1Q23 Update.”

Onwani system supporting easier navigation across Abu Dhabi

 Abu Dhabi: The Department of Municipalities and Transport (DMT) has launched a media campaign to raise awareness of the Onwani system, the unified spatial addressing system for Abu Dhabi.The innovative platform uses advanced technologies, such as geographic information systems and Quick Response (QR) code services, creating efficient access and navigation to different destinations across the emirate.The awareness campaign is being implemented in multiple languages to reach different segments of society across Abu Dhabi. The aim is to educate people on how to use Onwani to access any address in Abu Dhabi, and the unique benefits it offers, ultimately encouraging more members of the community to adopt it. The campaign features a series of short videos that tell stories about the meanings behind the street names in the emirate.These streets are named after elements inspired by authentic Emirati heritage and culture, as well as prominent figures, to introduce National identity and local heritage to current and future generations, while strengthening their connection to the history and heritage of the UAE.Onwani contributes to facilitating the access of individuals, businesses, and visitors to any destination or location in Abu Dhabi with efficiency and effectiveness. This is achieved by numbering buildings and naming streets in different parts of Abu Dhabi by, using unique numbers for buildings and facilities, and unique names for streets that reflect the Emirati identity.The importance of the system lies in the many benefits it offers to individuals, businesses and society. The system helps save time and facilitates access to desired locations more quickly, which contributes to reducing the carbon footprint of vehicles and preserving the environment. The system also contributes to enhancing logistics services and assisting in delivering goods and services promptly and with high accuracy.Other benefits include improving emergency response times and enhancing business planning and management processes by providing accurate information.The Onwani system has been developed to meet best global practices in addressing and spatial guidance, contributing to improving the quality of life in the emirate. It will also drive the national economy by facilitating the movement of individuals and enhancing the transportation of goods and commodities in various regions of the emirate.The system is a significant landmark and a step forward in the sustainable development of Abu Dhabi, enhancing infrastructure and having long-term positive effects.His Excellency Dr. Salem Khalfan Al Kaabi, Director General of Operational Affairs at the Department of Municipalities and Transport, said: "Onwani provides innovative solutions that can create a qualitative shift in transportation and navigation methods in the emirate of Abu Dhabi. It will have multiple and long-term positive impacts that support the national economy and solidify the emirate's position on the map of innovation and smart cities. Through this innovative system equipped with advanced technologies, residents of the emirate will be able to navigate and discover different places and destinations in Abu Dhabi more easily and in less time than ever before.“Onwani reflects the Department of Municipalities and Transport's commitment to continuous development of the infrastructure of the emirate's cities and improving the quality of life for its residents. The system enhances Abu Dhabi's position as a model to be followed by other cities around the world as it embodies the value of innovation and collaboration to improve public services."Department of Municipalities and Transport, in coordination with partners from government and private sectors, has conducted workshops to introduce the use of Onwani for logistics services within the unified Addressing System. announces Eid sale with savings up to 50%

CAIRO : Today, announced its Eid Sale, offering customers tens of thousands of deals across over 30 product categories. The sale will run from April 12 to 18, and features discounts of up to 50% off on a wide range of products including fashion, beauty and perfumes, electronics, home and kitchen appliances, toys, groceries, including Kahk (Egyptian Eid cookies), and Prime members will have exclusive early access to the sale starting from midnight on April 11, a full day before the sale opens to all customers. Prime members will also benefit from exclusive deals and extra savings, including fast and free shipping, early access to deals, Prime Video, and Prime Gaming. Customers who are not yet Amazon Prime members can sign up for a free 30-day trial on and enjoy all the benefits of being a Prime member, including early access to the Eid Sale. After the trial period, membership will be available for EGP 29 per month. For ease of payment and convenience, customers can pay online using their debit or credit cards, and Orange customers can also subscribe to Prime with their Orange bundle package. Commenting on the upcoming sale, Omar Elsahy, Amazon Egypt General Manager, said, “We are thrilled to launch our Eid Sale event for our customers and provide them with a range of products and discounts of up to 50%, allowing them to save big ahead of the festive occasion. As we know customers love to purchase new clothes for Eid, we are offering special fashion discounts of up to 70%, meeting their needs this Eid, along with Eid’s all-time favorite Kahk. Prime members can take full advantage of the sale, benefitting from their membership perks and exclusive deals that are tailored to their shopping preferences.” also provides customers with more ways to save this Eid. customers who are Banque Misr credit card holders can get 20% discount up to EGP 150, with an additional 10% up to EGP 50 for Prime members, and have the opportunity to pay in installments up to 12 months with 0% interest rate. In addition, ALEXBANK credit card holders buying on can also pay in installments up to 12 months with 0% interest rate. For Vodafone Cash customers, customers can get an extra 20% discount up to EGP 40 on their order when they pay EGP 100 or more using Vodafone Cash as a payment method.Customers shopping the Eid Sale on can also support local businesses by exploring the ‘Support Egyptian Products’ storefront featuring a curated collection of products connecting local businesses, with customers throughout the sale.Eid Sale DeliveriesThe increased demand through the deals season is met by Amazon’s world-class last-mile operations and delivery station technologies. The company’s advanced capacity management systems, enhanced tracking, and global routing solutions will ensure a faster, more reliable, and more convenient customer experience. Today, Amazon’s network across Egypt includes 22 delivery stations across cities like Cairo, Alexandria, Tanta, Ismailia, and Assiut, and several established corporate and customer service offices.Customers can make their shopping experience even easier by downloading the Amazon app to browse and shop the best Eid sale deals or shop directly on the website on All deliveries can be paid through online payment options including credit and debit cards.

Sharjah Ramadan Fest boosts sales for shops and centres

Sharjah: The 33rd edition of the Sharjah Ramadan Festival, which was held in different cities and regions of the emirate and organized by the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, has yielded positive preliminary results after 20 days of its launch. The shopping centers and shops taking part in the event reported significant increases in revenues and sales due to the surge in the number of shoppers.As the 33rd edition of the festival draws to a close on April 25, it is expected that sales will continue to rise during the remaining days. This is attributed to the high demand from families who are shopping in preparation for Eid Al Fitr. The major discounts offered by the shopping centers and thousands of shops, with prices reduced by over 75% on a range of goods, products, and fashion items, are also playing a significant role in driving the increased demand.HE Mohammad Ahmed Amin Al Awadi, Director-General of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI), emphasized that the Sharjah Ramadan Festival has been a crucial shopping season for the retail sector in the Emirate of Sharjah for 33 years. It constitutes a significant proportion of their annual sales, as confirmed by polls conducted by the Chamber in collaboration with the relevant authorities. This year's polls reaffirmed that the festival has once again achieved exceptional success in promoting retail sales and activating the sales movement, as evident from the preliminary results.For his part, Ibrahim Rashid Al Jarwan, Director of Economic Relations and Marketing at SCCI and General Coordinator of the Festival, said that the Sharjah Ramadan Festival is a crucial event for both merchants and shop owners, and one of the most significant marketing seasons in the Emirate of Sharjah. It motivates shoppers to make purchases, thereby serving as a crucial driver in promoting Sharjah's retail sector. Additionally, the festival has become an essential platform to attract visitors from all over the world and provide them with a unique shopping experience in Sharjah.Several representatives from shopping centers and shops participating in the Sharjah Ramadan Festival 2023 expressed their satisfaction with the event's positive impact on their sales over the past 20 days. They reported an increase in the number of visitors and sales in many shopping centers, attributing it to the Sharjah Chamber's annual organization of the festival and the services it provides.Additionally, they appreciated the Chamber's close supervision and follow-up of the festival's various activities, such as the offers, draws, and prizes, which attracted thousands of shoppers and led to a significant increase in sales rates.Sahara Centre and City Centre Sharjah are among the many shopping centers in Sharjah offering exclusive promotions and prizes during the ongoing Sharjah Ramadan Festival 2023.At Sahara Centre, shoppers who spend AED 200 at any of its stores will be entered into a draw to win prizes or shopping vouchers worth a whopping AED 150,000. (AED15,000 for each winner). The mall is also hosting a variety of discounts and offers throughout the festival period.City Centre Sharjah, on the other hand, has launched a "spend and win" campaign exclusively for Majid Al Futtaim SHARE Rewards cardholders. The lucky winner will receive a diamond set presented by Lifestyle Jewellery Store.In collaboration with Radio Plus 95 of Sharjah Radio and Television, the shopping center is also holding a live competition program every Saturday and Sunday during Ramadan. Participants will have the chance to win valuable prizes, including "My Gift" cards worth a total of AED 28,000. Additionally, the Carrefour hypermarket is offering AED 10,000 worth of gift cards, and there are free shopping vouchers available from both Sharaf DG and Venue 3 Gym.Mega Mall Sharjah is also offering its own set of prizes for shoppers who spend AED 200 or more. Weekly draws will be held for iPads, iPhone 14s, TV screens, and electric scooters. Additionally, daily prizes will be given out once the spending threshold is met.

Continuum Media partners with Komsomolskaya Pravda

Dubai:Komsomolskaya Pravda is one of the biggest multimedia holding based in Moscow with an impressive history of 97 years, creating content and reaching their multi-million audience through radio, newspaper, and video. Komsomolskaya Pravda, a leader in the websites of consumer orientation, has a maximum audience reach and monthly traffic of 47. 7 million people.Komsomolskaya Pravda aims to bridge the gap effectively by assigning Continuum Media as its exclusive partner in the Middle East Region.Continuum Media is a media technology company which has more than 50 media titles under its portfolio across the globe. Continuum Media will be able to serve the local clients and agencies better who are looking to reach the Russian audiences through radio, newspaper, and video on a large scale.This agreement between the technology media representative company and the premium Russian publication will allow it to reach effectively the audiences in Russia who are interested or looking for better investment opportunities in real estate, education, health, and tourism in UAE Market.Mohammad Nayeem, Sales Director EMEA, said, “Continuum a leading media technology company with expertise in media & ad tech is committed to helping businesses expand its reach in several markets. Continuum Media with this partnership with Komsomolskaya Pravda can successfully aim at delivering the messages effectively and efficiently.Anna Shashlova, Director of Internet Project Development KP.RU , said: "We are pleased to present the advertising powers of KP Media Group in the Middle East through our partner Continuum Media Group, which will give customers the opportunity to reach a multi-million audience in Russia. We highly appreciate the professionalism and competence of Continuum Media Group and are confident in the effectiveness of cooperation.”

H.E. Dr Ahmed Abdul Rahman AlBanna joins the advisory board of YAAP

Dubai: YAAP, a new-age specialized content and influencer marketing company, today announced that His Excellency Dr Ahmed Abdul Rahman AlBanna has joined its advisory board. Former UAE Ambassador to India, Dr AlBanna, will have hands-on involvement in YAAP’s key strategic initiatives aimed at growth and expansion in the GCC region. The addition of a seasoned diplomat of Dr AlBanna’s calibre to the advisory board reflects YAAP's ambitious growth vision. “We are elated to induct His Excellency Dr Ahmed Abdul Rahman AlBanna to the advisory board of YAAP. This development coincides with a juncture marked by strategic expansion, sustainable scaling, key appointments, and continued product/service excellence at the company, in the context of the GCC region. Dr AlBanna’s wisdom will go a long way in empowering us to realize our aspirations, as well as stay rooted in shared values and business ethos,” expressed Atul Hegde, Founder of YAAP. Dr AlBanna is well-known for his contributions to the public sector, where he led key teams and departments in organizations and apex bodies such as the Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Dubai Quality Group, and Dubai Rent Committee. His Excellency subsequently became a member of multiple, reputable professional associations, including a stint as an advisor for the Dubai Expo. His exemplary work in the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs, particularly as the Ambassador and Plenipotentiary to India, continues to define his reputation in the region.His Excellency’s intersectional experience, owing to his ambassadorship and other diplomatic roles, also complements YAAP’s operational purview which includes India and the GCC region. In a career spanning over four decades, Dr AlBanna has left a lasting legacy on multiple organizations and initiatives by negotiating and striking landmark deals, helming successful strategies, and orchestrating pathbreaking agreements. His business acumen will benefit YAAP tremendously as it explores more investments in the region and expands its footprint beyond Dubai. “YAAP is well-equipped technologically and strategically, capable of capitalizing on the many emerging opportunities in the region. Its blueprint for growth and expansion in the Middle East is promising, characterized by value creation, technology adoption, customer-centricity, and an alignment with the governmental vision of all-around socioeconomic prosperity — factors that deeply resonate with me and my business philosophy,” commented H.E. Dr Ahmed Abdul Rahman AlBanna. YAAP recently onboarded Nandita Saggu and Sadia Akhter as Partners and joined hands with leading US-based influencer marketing agency Tagger Media. The high-profile additions and partnerships were preceded by the acquisition of Crayons Communications, a reputable advertising agency in the Middle East, and an impressive top-line growth of 97% and a 5X jump in profitability for FY21-22. YAAP’s portfolio includes esteemed clients such as Coca-Cola, Visit Dubai, Lufthansa, RuPay, American Express, Disney, Amazon, and Square Enix.

Burgeoning demand from KSA’s entertainment industry to propel AV technology

Riyad: KSA: From playing host to several international sports’ events, to putting on art exhibitions and live concerts with star-studded global icons, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is facing a rising demand for AV technology to support its burgeoning entertainment industry, which reached an estimated USD 308 million at the end of last year, according to Statista.With plans for Saudi Arabia to invest USD 64 billion in its entertainment industry over the next decade, there is a significant demand for AV technology, professional lighting equipment, and theatre and cinema operators to support the Kingdom’s ambitious entertainment goals.The rising demand will be the focus of this year’s Saudi Light and Sound (SLS) Expo taking place from the 28th – 30th May at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Centre. Co-located with the Saudi Entertainment and Amusement (SEA) Expo, SLS Expo will feature exhibitors from the pro-lighting and audio, live events, digital signage, AI, laser technology, and stage technology sector. In addition, the SLS Summit will include presentations and panel discussions from industry experts and leaders on how to advance the entertainment market as it works towards Vision 2030.“The country’s entertainment industry is expected to be worth USD 1.17 billion by the end of 2030. This explosive growth has placed an immense demand on the light and sound industry,” said Sarkis Kahwajian, SLS Expo Director.“Over the last few years, it has become the norm in Saudi Arabia to play host to some of the biggest international sporting events, from WWE to Formula One, in addition to theatrical shows, and concerts with internationally acclaimed artists. And while it has done this successfully and attracted huge tourist numbers from the region and across the world, it has also set the tone for the next decade in the entertainment space. This is where SLS Expo can really be the catalyst and meet the rising demand.”With one of the largest populations in the Middle East and with around half its residents under the age of 30, Saudi Arabia has a growing appetite for entertainment that has already seen plans for hundreds of new cinemas to explode onto the market by the end of the decade, a bevy of theme parks and new cities intent on showcasing entertainment to drive domestic and international tourists.Among the exhibitors at SLS Expo this year are Huda Lighting Trading, Kvant Show Production, Novelty Middle East Pro Lab Trading, TechnoCode and many others

Sheikha Al-Zain Al-Sabah to exit OSN board

UAE: OSN, the leading TV entertainment company for premium content in the region, has announced that Sheikha Al-Zain Al-Sabah will be departing from the company's board to assume her new role as the Ambassador of the State of Kuwait to the United States of America.Sheikha Al-Zain Al-Sabah has been a valuable member of OSN's board, serving as the Vice-Chairwoman since May 2022 and bringing extensive leadership experience to the company. Her contributions, including spearheading a number of projects and strategic initiatives, have played an instrumental role in OSN's growth.Sheikha Al-Zain Al-Sabah succeeds Sheikh Salem Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah as the new ambassador. OSN expresses gratitude to Sheikha Al-Zain Al-Sabah’s contributions and wishes her continued success in her new position.Chairperson Sheikha Dana Nasser Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, KIPCO’s Group Chief Executive Officer, and the OSN Board expresses gratitude and thanks for her contributions and wishes her continued success in her new position.

Digital assets infrastructure company Zero Two opens headquarters in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi : Digital assets infrastructure company Zero Two has launched operations in Abu Dhabi to cater to the rapidly increasing interest in Web3 technology and its ecosystem. With a unique, fully integrated offering in end-to-end digital assets infrastructure solutions, Zero Two aims to become a trusted partner to companies seeking to capitalise on the broad innovative scope and transformative potential the technology offers. The company’s services include developing power infrastructure, sourcing and testing latest generation technologies, building and operating data centres, and providing digital assets management services.Zero Two was created to develop, operate and invest in best-in-class technologies accelerating and supporting the digital asset and Web3 ecosystem in the region, which comprises concepts such as decentralisation and token-based economics.Zero Two will play an integral role in facilitating the continued stability of the power grid of Abu Dhabi while contributing towards the UAE’s Net Zero commitments and transition towards a sustainable, decarbonised economy as the nation prepares to host COP28. By utilising excess power in low demand seasons to operate its state-of-the-art data centres located in Abu Dhabi further supporting the resiliency of the local power grid.With an inaugural client roster encompassing energy and utilities sector leaders, Zero Two, which is part of ADQ, purchased the largest order to date of Clean Energy Certificates (CECs), which are rolled out collaboratively by the Department of Energy (DoE) and Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC). By offsetting CO2 emissions, the purchase grants Zero Two to attest the sources of its clean energy usage and empowers them in achieving their sustainability goals.Ahmed Al Hameli, Chief Executive Officer at Zero Two, said: “Digital assets hold vast potential that is only beginning to be explored and leveraged. Zero Two enters the market with a robust and broad business model catering to rapidly emerging demand and a demonstrated commitment to meeting the highest standards of security and compliance. We are confident that our offering that utilizes excess power from the local power grid, which is the first of its kind in the UAE and the wider region, will not only meet the needs of our clients but also exceed their expectations with regards to the various benefits that can be derived from deploying distributed ledger technologies.”Zero Two name comprises of two notions, the significance numerals 0 and 2 in Web3 technology.

Live video streaming market to reach $4.3 billion by 2028

Jeddah: OpenSignal recently published a report on the live video experience of mobile users. The first-of-its-kind in the industry, the report is based on years of extensive research and development conducted across more than 100 global markets.The report aligns with OpenSignal’s aim to help telecom providers enhance their network performance and provide the best user experience by providing and analyzing data on network performance and mobile device experience.Previously, OpenSignal issued a report on users’ experience of playing real-time multiplayer games over mobile networks, when streaming recorded video, communicating in group video calls, or with over-the-top voice applications.The latest report sheds light on the live video experience, revealing the difference between watching live events and viewing videos on social media platforms, on-demand TV shows, movies, or other forms of pre-recorded video. (read the full report here: live events is one of the most significant challenges that streaming companies face due to the need for a robust back-end infrastructure that ensures reliable and high-quality, real-time distribution.The report, titled “The Live Video Experience – in Mobile Sports, News and Game Streaming,” emphasized the importance of the live experience for mobile users because if there are any delays or glitches in the production process or network, it can significantly impact users' overall experience. For example, if a user hears their neighbors cheer a winning goal in a football match, or a batter getting caught during a cricket match before they get to see it themselves, it can ruin their enjoyment of the event.To evaluate the live video experience, OpenSignal conducted tests measuring the mobile network performance, the results of which reflected the quality of the live video viewing experience for mobile users around the world, in addition to conducting a comparison of the live video streaming experience using the world's largest streaming platforms, such as YouTube Live and Twitch.The results of the report revealed that Norway has the best overall live video experience in the world with a score of 55.3 points, surpassing the Netherlands by 1.2 points and closely followed by Sweden and Denmark with scores of 53.6 and 53.7 points, respectively. European markets dominated the global top 20 list, with only three markets outside of Europe - South Korea, Taiwan, and Canada – making it to the list.In the Asia Pacific region, South Korea topped the rankings with a score of 51.4 points, followed by Taiwan (49.7 points) in the second place, and Singapore and Japan in the third place with scores of 48.7- 49.1 points. Papua New Guinea came last with a score of 26.8 points.Across the Americas, Canada ranked first as the country with the best live video experience with a score of 49.6 points, while Uruguay scored the highest in Central and South America with 45.8 points. The US, meanwhile, scored 40.7 points, ranking sixth in the region, tying with Argentina, which scored 40.8 points and Brazil (38.9 points).The total global live video broadcasting market is expected to reach $4.3 billion by 2028, up from nearly $1 billion in 2021, which means a rapid compound annual growth rate of 23.5%, according to Vantage Market Research. According to the OpenSignal report, the most popular types of live video streaming services included live sports broadcasts, sports news, gaming broadcasts and streams, news coverage and events, as well as entertainment shows such as concerts, festivals, and variety shows produced by individual creators on social media or streaming platforms as well as live shows and product reviews via social media.The report indicated that live streams provide a more interactive experience for mobile users than pre-recorded content because they facilitate communication and engagement between broadcasters and their audience, as well as opportunities for online creators and influencers to share their content in real-time and monetize it through donations from their online communities during streams or through advertising revenues or sponsorship deals.A live video is an excellent tool for creators to showcase their content while being spontaneous. They don't need to restrict themselves to their studios, with access to specialized technical equipment. Live streaming is also user-friendly, especially for mobile users, due to its increased accessibility. People can connect to live video streams from anywhere as long as they have a mobile signal, making it easier for organizations and businesses to reach a wider audience.

Dubai Shopping Malls Group launches Eid campaign

Dubai: Get ready to make this Eid unforgettable with Dubai Shopping Malls Group's latest campaign – 'An Eid to Remember, an Eidiya to Cherish', taking place from 12-22 April 2023.During this time, customers can head to their favourite participating malls and spend as little as AED 200 for a chance to win up to AED 200,000 in an exciting digital raffle. Shoppers simply need to present their purchase receipts to the customer service desk at the mall to register for an e-ticket to enter the campaign.A total of 22 lucky shoppers will be selected at draws during the last three days of Eid—guaranteeing a memorable Eid filled with amazing shopping experiences and the chance to win big. A sum of AED 15,000 will be awarded to six winners, whereas six other winners will take home AED 10,000 and 10 winners will walk away with AED 5000.Majid Al Ghurair, Chairman of Dubai Shopping Malls Group, said: "We are pleased to add joy and prosperity to our customer's lives with our new Eid campaign. Imagine the excitement of taking home thousands of dirhams and all the amazing things you can do with them. At Dubai Shopping Malls Group, our commitment is to give back to our community through our campaigns, and by building on our continuous success, we aim to deliver an Eid to remember to our valued customers."The participating malls in Dubai Shopping Malls Group's Eid promotion this year include Al Barsha Mall, Al Barsha South Mall, Al Ghurair Centre, Al Bustan Centre, Al Khail Gate, Al Warqa City Mall, Arabian Centre, Bay Avenue, Century Mall, Dubai Outlet Mall, Dubai Festival Plaza, Villanova Community Centre, Etihad Mall, Lulu Silicon Central, Nad Al Hamar, Shorooq Community Centre, Serena Marketplace and Mudon Community Centre.

Dubai the top foreigners’ destination, W Capital survey says

Dubai, United Arab Emirates: A “W Capital” survey, said that the Emirate of Dubai has become a dream of living, residing and working for many foreigners, especially Arab youths.The survey, conducted through January to March 2023, asked "W Capital" clients in the UAE and the Gulf region what makes the charm of Dubai. Participants stated that the infrastructure gave Dubai the lead in the field of real estate at the global level, and strengthened its position at the forefront of global destinations as the best place to live, work and invest, besides the ease of doing business, and providing good job opportunities."The poll conducted by "W Capital", the real estate brokerage, showed the participants’ great desire to live in Dubai, establish their business and plan for future in the emirate of dreams, which is one of the seven safest cities in the world for citizens, residents and visitors,” said Walid Al Zarooni , CEO.He added that Dubai's successes during the past two decades have established its position as a fertile ground for opportunities, where efforts bear fruit and dreams come true. It is now a destination for entertainment, work and living, and it is more than just a civilized space, but rather an experience that cannot be lived anywhere else. Here you can’t avoid the temptation of big dreams and achievements, while enjoying the best lifestyle during that experience.Al Zarooni stated that the emirate has succeeded in being a home for expatriates of more than 200 nationalities, who live and work side by side.Dubai provides a rich lifestyle with many events and recreational activities for all, in a vibrant urban atmosphere.The CEO stressed that Dubai provides the most modern roads, ports and airports, which serve as one of the busiest gateways to the world in the region for business, trade and tourism. This make the city a favorite for many.Due to its central location between east and west, as it is a few hours away by flight from most of the world's major destinations, Dubai Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world. It serves more than 85 million people annually, connecting more than 240 destinations across six continents, with more than 100 airlines.Al Zarooni indicated that Dubai has also established its position as one of the happiest cities in the world, and the only city in which happiness is considered an official public mission. The UAE has a Ministry of Happiness, which was established in 2016.He stressed that the emirate ensures happiness for nationals or residents of other nationalities, by empowering them and providing distinctive infrastructure and exceptional opportunities, while at the same time preserving their safety and comfort.Dubai has one of the most developed and effective transport systems; Which makes it ideal for on-the-go thanks to strict traffic laws, and a state-of-the-art road control systems.He pointed out that Dubai offers the best educational standards. There is a world-class school education, through 16 different curricula, and access to more than 60 prestigious international universities. The health services offered by Dubai are of highest global standards , especially after integrating health and innovation to serve and attract medical tourism. They are keen to become one of the top 20 healthcare markets in the world.Al Zarooni stressed that the real estate market in Dubai continues to receive great support from the unlimited facilities and qualitative initiatives launched by the emirate's government, represented in the policies to support residents, the new residency laws, and the residency of entrepreneurs and investors.He said that the emirate provides safe and vibrant residential communities, as well as luxury resorts and hotels, which suit all tastes, and the expected demand for different spaces, to suit the individuals or familes.Al Zarooni believed that the Dubai real estate market is characterized by its diversity, fulfilling the different requirements of the tenants and buyers, and this is supported by flexible real estate legal systems that allow Emirati and Gulf nationals to own property in any area, as well as allow foreign residents to rent, buy and sell real estate units in specific areas in the emirate.

Animators reveal their creative secrets at Sharjah Animation conference

Sharjah: Presenting a not-to-miss opportunity to fans and professionals alike, the Sharjah Book Authority has announced the inaugural edition of the Sharjah Animation Conference - a first-of-its-kind platform in the region to learn, be entertained and get up close and personal with Oscar winners and global industry leaders.Set to take place from May 3 - 5 on the sidelines of the 14th annual Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival (SCRF 2023) in Hall 1, Expo Centre Sharjah, the event is organised by the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) in collaboration with Lilium, and in partnership with Italy’s Bergamo Animation Days (BAD) festival, and will provide a platform for people to come together, exchange ideas, and create meaningful connections.The event will host state-of-the-art masterclasses, workshops, film screenings, business networking meetings between publishers and producers, and in-person interactions with the top brass of the world of animation. The artist line-up for SAC 2023 includes the likes of John Nevarez, film-story artist and Oscar winner for “Coco”; Sandro Cleuzo, animator and character designer and Annie Award winner for “Mary Poppins Returns”; and Takahiro Yoshimatsu, the animator and director of “Dragon Ball” and “Dragon Ball Z”.With 9 seminars, 9 workshops and masterclasses, and 3 panel discussions as well as a vibrant professional agenda, the conference will also attract professionals and young people from all over the Middle East, and build Sharjah’s reputation as the animation capital of the Arab world. On the programme, activities aimed at a wide and varied audience, in terms of age and interests, with a major objective: to arouse curiosity and provide information on a world with a high level of creativity and technology. The conference will serve as a meeting point for different arts and crafts, stimulate new professionalism by directing attendees towards specialisations in the sector, and enable creative encounters between young aspirants and established protagonists of the world of animation.The focus is on the writing, languages, themes, production techniques and technologies of animated cinema and how they are expressed in pure entertainment products, popular animation and communication.Khoula Al Mujaini, SAC Executive Director said: “Animation lovers in the UAE and beyond are in for a spectacular treat. At the three-day Sharjah Animation Conference, they will enter the fascinating world of animation and get behind the scenes to learn so much about what brings these iconic and timeless characters to life. The conference is also aligned with Sharjah’s and SBA’s vision to elevate children’s visual content, and to fulfil this purpose, we will be presenting this platform to experts who will enjoy a unique opportunity to meet with the world’s top publishers, animators and producers to explore prospects for content selling and collaboration. We're aiming to bring animation professionals together and create a community in the region, all while providing an opportunity for learning.”For his part, Pietro Pinetti, SAC Artistic Director noted: “Our intention is for Sharjah to become the animation capital of the Arab world, attracting professionals and young people from all over the Middle East. A platform like SAC presents a great new opportunity for enabling exchange between the Arab and western worlds, particularly here in Sharjah, which has been investing in culture and young people for a long time. It is no coincidence that the emirate is the cultural capital of the UAE. Just this year Bergamo is, together with the neighbouring city of Brescia, the Italian capital of culture - another common touchpoint between BAD and SCRF. I thank Sharjah Book Authority for having believed in our project right from the start, and SCRF for welcoming us, proving that it fully shares our vision.”

Cartlow launches innovative retail experience for sustainable shopping

DUBAI: Cartlow has launched a new catalogue retail experience providing customers with a seamless and adaptable shopping journey through its app-based digital catalogue. Customers can explore a diverse range of pre-loved products, including electronics, toys, home, and lifestyle items, and select their preferred items from top brands such as Apple, Samsung, and Huawei. Unlike traditional online shopping, the new experience allows customers to view the item conditions physically, enabling informed purchasing decisions through a tactile and hands-on approach.Cartlow's catalogue retail experience is the first of its kind in the MENA region, providing customers with an innovative solution that helps to extend the lifecycles of products and reduce e-waste. Since inception, the platform has sold over 2 million products, resulting in a groundbreaking contribution to saving over 6 million kg of e-waste and 36 million kg of carbon emissions.Mohammad Sleiman, Founder and CEO, has expressed the company’s commitment to sustainability and continuous innovation in the reverse logistics industry, through which the company aims to provide better solutions to its partners and customers. Cartlow's has had a significant impact on the shopping scene, with products up to 80% cheaper than the retail price. Additionally, the platform holds an international standard certification, demonstrating its commitment to environmentally responsible recycling practices.As the platform continues to grow and expand its offerings, it is expected to become a major player in the global reverse logistics market, which is projected to reach $958 billion in 2028.

E& to acquire a majority stake in Careem Super App

DUBAI: e& today announced the signing of a binding agreement with Uber Technologies, Inc. (“Uber”) and its subsidiary Careem to acquire a majority stake in Careem’s Super App spinout. Careem’s ride hailing business will remain fully owned by Uber and continue to be available with all other Careem services on the existing app for customers. e& is investing $400m to become a majority shareholder in Careem's Super App alongside Uber and all three of Careem's co-founders. The Careem Super App offers over a dozen services including food and grocery delivery, micro-mobility, a digital wallet and suite of fintech services, and additional third-party services such as home cleaning, car rental and laundry. Careem serves customers in 10 countries across the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. With this new investment, Careem plans to accelerate the realisation of its ambitious vision to create the first “everything app” serving customers across the Middle East. This will include expanding its core food, grocery, and fintech services and the Careem Plus subscription programme across the region while adding even more partner services to the app. Careem expects significant synergies with e& and anticipates benefiting from e&’s large customer base and extensive experience scaling complex tech enabled businesses across a largely shared geographic footprint. This investment is in line with e&’s strategic ambition of scaling up consumer digital offerings and accelerating its transformation to a global technology and investments group. It provides e& with access to multiple digital verticals, new innovative digital services, strong talent, and new geographies. e& will leverage the Careem Super App to boost the growth of its consumer digital services, including the expansion of e& life’s fintech vertical, e& money, which will play an important role in the super app vision by providing e& money’s powerful financial service offerings.  In recent years e& has transformed into a global technology and investment group. The company is integrating emerging technologies into its expanding business verticals. e& has 163 million subscribers across 16 countries in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.Hatem Dowidar, Group CEO, e& commented, “Super Apps have catalysed the economic, social and cultural growth of emerging markets today. The popularity of super apps has come from the need to provide a unique and seamless customer experience. The mobile first population have given rise to an ecosystem that has encouraged the use and also expanded the scope for super apps with user expectations turned towards performing their daily activities on digital platforms. “The Careem Super App, is a digital native that has built a rapidly growing payments, food and grocery delivery network, and a platform for other digital businesses to scale from. The shared vision between e& and Careem is exciting, we believe that together we’ll be able to enhance our impact across different markets in the region while pushing the boundaries of customer experience.” Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO, Uber said, “Over the last decade, Careem helped revolutionize mobility across the greater Middle East while building an incredible brand. I am thrilled to partner with Careem, and welcome e&, as we grow the Careem super app to deliver more services to millions of people in this fast-moving part of the world. All of us at Uber are excited about the impact the Careem platform will have on this region over the next decade and beyond.” Khalifa Al Shamsi CEO, e& life said: “We are thrilled to welcome Careem into the e& family with this exciting and ground-breaking deal. There are several growth opportunities between Careem and e& life as the “consumer digital” arm of e&. Our current strengths, primarily in fintech and multimedia, coupled with Careem’s services and regional footprint, will accelerate our joint vision towards a regional super app. With this partnership between e&, Careem and Uber we will set new standards of product innovation and customer experience throughout the region.” Careem CEO and co-founder Mudassir Sheikha said, “The opportunity to use technology to leapfrog the lives of people in the region is enormous. Uber has been an incredible partner over the last three years as we expanded our mission to simplify the lives of people with everyday services beyond ride-hailing. We are excited to bring e& into the family. Their passion for uplifting the region and the synergies across their portfolio are extremely valuable. With two strong partners in e& and Uber, I have no doubt that we will build the preeminent technology platform of the region." Since Uber’s acquisition in 2020, Careem has evolved to become a multiservice app offering users over a dozen services. In 2022 in the UAE, Quik, the grocery delivery service, grew 46X, and food orders grew by 86 percent. Over the course of the year Careem Pay launched as a true fintech in the UAE with a digital wallet and payments products including bill payments, international remittances, domestic peer-to-peer payments, and one-click checkout. Careem Bike doubled its network of pedal assist bikes and grew by 61%. Careem launched its popular subscription service Careem Plus, saw its first partner service (home cleaning) grow 4.9x while it also onboarded new third-party partners offering rental cars, spa and laundry services. Completion of the transaction remains subject to regulatory approvals, customary closing conditions, and administrative procedures.

Digital assets infrastructure company Zero Two opens headquarters in Abu Dhabi

DUBAI: Digital assets infrastructure company Zero Two has launched operations in Abu Dhabi to cater to the rapidly increasing interest in Web3 technology and its ecosystem. With a unique, fully integrated offering in end-to-end digital assets infrastructure solutions, Zero Two aims to become a trusted partner to companies seeking to capitalise on the broad innovative scope and transformative potential the technology offers. The company’s services include developing power infrastructure, sourcing and testing latest generation technologies, building and operating data centres, and providing digital assets management services.Zero Two was created to develop, operate and invest in best-in-class technologies accelerating and supporting the digital asset and Web3 ecosystem in the region, which comprises concepts such as decentralisation and token-based economics.Zero Two will play an integral role in facilitating the continued stability of the power grid of Abu Dhabi while contributing towards the UAE’s Net Zero commitments and transition towards a sustainable, decarbonised economy as the nation prepares to host COP28. By utilising excess power in low demand seasons to operate its state-of-the-art data centres located in Abu Dhabi further supporting the resiliency of the local power grid.With an inaugural client roster encompassing energy and utilities sector leaders, Zero Two, which is part of ADQ, purchased the largest order to date of Clean Energy Certificates (CECs), which are rolled out collaboratively by the Department of Energy (DoE) and Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC). By offsetting CO2 emissions, the purchase grants Zero Two to attest the sources of its clean energy usage and empowers them in achieving their sustainability goals.Ahmed Al Hameli, Chief Executive Officer at Zero Two, said: “Digital assets hold vast potential that is only beginning to be explored and leveraged. Zero Two enters the market with a robust and broad business model catering to rapidly emerging demand and a demonstrated commitment to meeting the highest standards of security and compliance. We are confident that our offering that utilizes excess power from the local power grid, which is the first of its kind in the UAE and the wider region, will not only meet the needs of our clients but also exceed their expectations with regards to the various benefits that can be derived from deploying distributed ledger technologies.”Zero Two name comprises of two notions, the significance numerals 0 and 2 in Web3 technology.

Love Nature appoints Sabrina Sahel as Affiliate Sales Director, EMEA

Love Nature, a wildlife and nature brand with linear and streaming channels available in over 145 countries, announced today the appointment of Sabrina Sahel to the role of Affiliate Sales Director, EMEA, Love Nature. Sabrina is tasked with growing Blue Ant Media’s Love Nature channel business across EMEA. Operating out of Blue Ant Media’s new Belgium based office, Sabrina will oversee distribution of the brand across Central and Eastern Europe, MENA and Benelux, and reports directly to Chiara McKee, VP EMEA, Love Nature.“This is an exciting time for Love Nature and bringing Sabrina on board is perfectly timed and part of our strategy to expand the brand’s reach across EMEA,” says Chiara McKee, VP EMEA, Love Nature. “Sabrina possesses a proven track record in the region, so she will be a great fit for the team as we continue to grow.”“I’m delighted to be joining the Love Nature team,” says Sabrina Sahel, Affiliate Sales Director EMEA, Love Nature. “I’m looking forward to growing the reach of Love Nature and to identifying great opportunities to bring the brand’s premium wildlife and nature content to even more audiences across the region.”Sabrina brings over 20 years of experience in licensing international linear and Pay-TV channels to top tier platforms in EMEA territories. Her areas of expertise include digital content and media distribution. She has solid experience in the fields of media and telecommunication. Throughout her career, Sabrina has held a number of senior and strategic leadership roles in various companies within high-growth technology industries, playing a key role in negotiating carriage agreements and executing linear distribution for Benelux, the Middle East, and Africa.Sabrina speaks six languages and brings a strong international culture, having spent the early part of her career in France, Luxembourg, the UK, and The Netherlands. Now, based in Belgium she is widely recognized for her ability to identify cable companies and telcos with whom she established privileged relationships in this rapidly-evolving digital landscape.

Ramadan Nights 2023 kicks off at Expo Centre Sharjah

Sharjah: The 40th edition of Ramadan Nights 2023, a highly anticipated marketing and entertainment event in the Emirate of Sharjah, kicked off yesterday evening (Wednesday) at the Expo Centre Sharjah.Organized by the Expo Centre Sharjah with the support of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the event, which will run until April 21, offers an exciting array of entertainment programs, unique heritage activities, and captivating surprises in the world of shopping. With over 10,000 products on offer, visitors can enjoy discounts of up to 75%, valuable prizes, and promotions.The exhibition was inaugurated by HE Abdullah Sultan Al Owais, Chairman of SCCI and Expo Centre Sharjah, and HE Salem Ali Al Muhairi, Chairman of the Sharjah Municipal Council. Present at the opening ceremony were several members of the Board of Directors of the Chamber and Expo Centre Sharjah, along with HE Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, CEO of Expo Centre Sharjah, and Sultan Shattaf, Director of Sales and Marketing Department at Expo Centre Sharjah. This is in addition to a number of official figures and members of the diplomatic corps.The exhibition featured around 500 brands and over 170 exhibitors from major retailers. Following the opening ceremony, attendees toured the exhibition, met with various exhibitors, and learned about the products on offer. In addition, they witnessed a variety of heritage events and artistic performances at the Heritage Village. Visitors were also introduced to exhibits presented by productive families, showcasing traditional clothes, tools, handicrafts, incense, drinks, and popular Ramadan dishes. HE Al Owais emphasized that "Ramadan Nights" is a significant initiative and part of the 33rd edition of the "Sharjah Ramadan Festival," being organized by the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The 17-day exhibition aims to provide various entertainment activities, special offers, and new programs that enhance shopping and entertainment experiences for everyone, ensuring that the festival spreads an atmosphere of joy and happiness among both residents and visitors of the Emirate. The event is also expected to reinforce Sharjah’s position as a global shopping and tourism destination.For his part, HE Saif Mohammed Al Midfa noted that the Ramadan Nights is an annual event that is constantly evolving to offer unparalleled shopping and entertainment experiences to the residents and visitors of Sharjah. This year, during the 40th edition of the exhibition, the Expo Centre Sharjah has curated an exciting schedule of entertainment and heritage events and activities. Additionally, visitors can take advantage of numerous promotions and valuable prizes offered by exhibitors, creating an inclusive environment for visitors to spend enjoyable Ramadan evenings with their loved ones. With the widest and most comprehensive space to shop, visitors can avail themselves of the great offers and discounts presented by exhibitors.The first day of the exhibition witnessed a remarkable turnout of visitors who flocked to enjoy the unique shows and exciting events offered, with the Heritage Village being a major highlight. This section showcased various aspects of the UAE's ancient and authentic society, offering parents and visitors the opportunity to enjoy beautiful heritage paintings, participate in live competitions, and win prizes.Running daily during the holy month of Ramadan from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. and from 3 p.m. to 12 a.m. during Eid Al-Fitr, "Ramadan Nights 2023" occupies an area of over 16,000 square meters, displaying more than 10,000 products. This exhibition is designed to cater to the diverse needs and requirements of its visitors during the holy month of Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr.

Business and industrial sectors achieve sustainable goals

Sharjah: Under the patronage and presence of Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, President of American University of Sharjah, the Sharjah Ramadan Majlis 2023 brought together business leaders, senior government officials, entrepreneurs and changemakers, providing them with a platform for dialogue and unifying visions and efforts that promote sustainability values ??and practices in various sectors and industries, and develop environmentally friendly and safe business options for the future of the world.Held under the theme "The Winning Combination: Where Business Meets Sustainability", the majlis was organised by Sharjah Development and Investment Authority (Shurooq), Sharjah FDI Office (Invest in Sharjah), Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa), and Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park (SRTIP). The majlis offered a vital dialogue space for thought leaders and changemakers to align multi-sectoral visions to deliver practical, innovative, and impactful solutions that can help mitigate the adverse impacts of environmental issues facing the UAE and the world today, and enhance sustainability across diverse sectors and industries.The Majlis opened with a keynote address from Sheikha Bodour, who reminded the audience to be “careful not to think of sustainability as a trend, because it is not. The awareness and commitment to be mindful of our impact on the planet should extend far beyond COP28”."In Sharjah, we are working hard to bring more balance and harmony to our relationship with the land" she added, referring to various actions carried out by public and private entities as well as educational institutions in the emirate, such as the recent harvesting of toxin- and pesticide-free wheat from the Saba Sanabel project in Mleiha, which was witnessed by His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the UAE Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, the ban on single-use plastic, the project to build the UAE's first recycling facility for expired batteries from electric vehicles, and the development of innovative solutions such as apps that enable more efficient and environmentally friendly waste management.“I am confident that with access to more technological advancement and research, we can be pioneers in shifting the conversation from achieving net zero goals to positive net outcomes that help us achieve a resilient and regenerative world”, President of American University of Sharjah asserted.Speakers at the majlis included HE Majid Al Suwaidi, Director-General of COP28, HE Omar Al-Suwaidi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology? HE Khaled Al Huraimel, Group CEO of BEEAH GROUP, HE Ahmed Obaid Al Qaseer, CEO of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), Mohamed Juma Al Musharrakh, CEO at Sharjah FDI Office (Invest in Sharjah), Najla Al Midfa, CEO of Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa), Hussain Al Mahmoudi, CEO of Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park (SRTIP), and a number of speakers from governmental and private bodies, including the office of the COP28 Conference of the Parties (UAE Climate Conference).Collective responsibility beyond bordersDuring his keynote speech, His Excellency Majid Al Suwaidi, Director-General of COP28, shared his views on a global approach to sustainability, emphasising the need for collective responsibility beyond borders.“His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed AlQasimi, Member of the UAE Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, has been a champion in sustainability leading Sharjah for decades with various green initiatives and groundbreaking projects. Through his tireless efforts, the emirate has embraced a forward-thinking approach that has not only safeguarded the economy but also laid the groundwork for a sustainable future. The UAE’s success as a nation lies in the spirit of our ambition and collective mission, and now we need to create sustainable jobs in sectors of tomorrow, we need to build on what we can thrive. We must look at COP28 as a launching pad to rally international organisations to collaboratively function to sustainable global agenda and make green transitions. Finance is also a clear goal of COP28 as we need trillions to fund climate-tech initiatives such as artificial intelligence and agrotech to decarbonise the planet. We need to be resilient in the progress we are making and ensure we move together globally for the people and the planet. COP28 is the single best economic opportunity that we can seize, and if done right, we can create ample opportunities for our youth to pioneer and lead the world.”His Excellency Omar Al-Suwaidi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology, affirmed that the UAE has been at the forefront of enacting legislation that focuses on consolidating sustainable business principles across various sectors.He said: "By prioritising sustainability and committing to the net-zero goal, the UAE is laying the groundwork for a green transformation that will benefit both our environment and our economy. Through a holistic approach that includes decarbonisation, circular economy policies, and embracing new industrial opportunities and technologies such as green hydrogen, we can create a roadmap towards a greener future. The entire ecosystem, from assessment to full transformation, are involved in this process to ensure we leave a lasting positive impact for future generations. We are committed to promoting technologies and initiatives that will raise the level of sustainable business efficiency, and creating policies and standards that will promote the green economy. Our vision is to create an economy that is fully based on sustainability, and we are dedicated to supporting all initiatives that serve the business sectors that rely on renewable energy."HE Khaled Al Huraimel, Group CEO of BEEAH GROUP, said that the declaration of 2023 as the Year of Sustainability in the UAE reflected the country's ongoing efforts to promote sustainable development and environmental preservation while striving to provide a model for the same.He said: “Sharjah's focus on sustainability is exemplified by the collaboration between various public and private entities in the emirate. Through joint efforts, we aim to address the challenges faced by different sectors while prioritising the interests of the business sector and supporting Sharjah's overall development. The UAE has already set an ambitious goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2050, which involves transitioning to a green economy and clean energy, ultimately improving quality of life and boosting economic growth. Initiatives such as Sharjah Sustainability City, BEEAH’s circular economy approach to waste management, and the Masdar-BEEAH partnership that resulted in the launch of the UAE’s first waste-to-energy plant demonstrate Sharjah's innovative and holistic approach to sustainability. Sharjah's commitment to sustainability not only promotes environmental protection but also drives economic growth and creates opportunities for businesses to succeed in the global market.”Sharjah on forefront for sustainabilityHE Najla Al Midfa, CEO of Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa), said: "By prioritising sustainability, Sharjah is working towards building a more resilient, equitable, and prosperous future for all its residents and stakeholders. The role of entrepreneurship in developing new, innovative, cost-effective and scalable solutions to environmental challenges cannot be overstated. Socially minded entrepreneurs have dedicated their life’s work to identifying existing gaps in the market and developing solutions that address a wide range of sustainability challenges like energy efficiency, waste management, and resource conservation. Sheraa's activities and initiatives demonstrate a strong commitment to promoting sustainability and supporting entrepreneurs who are working on solutions to environmental challenges."Hussain Al Mahmoudi, CEO of Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park (SRTIP), said: “We recognise the critical role that innovation and technology play in achieving sustainable development goals. Our belief is rooted in the understanding that through scientific and technological advancements, we can effectively address the most pressing global challenges. From mitigating the impact of environmental degradation to accelerating the transition towards a circular economy, our innovation ecosystem is designed to bring together researchers, entrepreneurs, and businesses, and provide them with the platform to collaborate, experiment, and scale up innovative ideas. We strongly believe that real-world impact can only be achieved through partnerships, and this platform serves as a vital space to initiate these dialogues. It brings together stakeholders from diverse backgrounds and industries to cultivate a culture of innovation and sustainability, ensuring positive changes that will endure for generations.”H.E Ahmed Obaid Al Qaseer, CEO of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), said: "Collaboration serves as the cornerstone for driving meaningful and impactful efforts towards sustainability. As individuals, as communities, and as nations, we have a collective responsibility to ensure that we leave behind a healthier planet for future generations. At Shurooq, we take this responsibility seriously and are committed to bringing sustainability to the forefront of development and business strategies. From the way they source materials for construction, to the cutting-edge advancements in waste management and recycling, Shurooq has made it a priority to implement sustainable and environmentally conscious practices in every project they undertake. Through our developments and investments, we aim to set an example for others to follow and work collaboratively with stakeholders from different sectors to achieve meaningful and impact-driving efforts towards sustainability."HE Mohammed Al Musharrakh, CEO of Sharjah FDI office (Invest in Sharjah), said: “As sustainability becomes an increasingly important consideration for businesses, our long-term strategy focuses on attracting sustainable FDI across the sectors of renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, eco-tourism, sustainable real estate & agriculture, green transportation and waste management to support long-term economic growth while minimising environmental and social impacts. We encourage both existing businesses in Sharjah and newcomers to adopt sustainable supply chain management practices, such as sourcing materials locally and reducing waste in production processes.”Effective strategies and solutionsThe forum’s dialogues, including an expert-led panel session, The Conscious Majlis: Our Collective Responsibility, highlighted effective and integrated strategies for enhancing sustainability across sectors and industries to ensure the longevity of the planet. The Majlis also offered key stakeholders in the entrepreneurship ecosystem a platform to talk about how startups and investors are making progress in the sustainability sector.The Sharjah Ramadan Majlis 2023 served as a significant platform to build momentum in the right direction, highlighting the invaluable role socially-minded and tech-driven entrepreneurs can play in building back from the rapid degeneration the world has experienced from unsustainable business practices. It was also a key event on the national and regional calendar for those interested in the future of entrepreneurship and sustainability in the region.

The ENTERTAINER joins Virgin Mobile UAE to provide mobile plan subscribers

Dubai : The ENTERTAINER has partnered with Virgin Mobile UAE, the region’s first fully digital mobile brand to provide added value to mobile plan subscribers. The partnership will enable Virgin Mobile UAE’s customers to have access to special, tailor-made ENTERTAINER offers.Thanks to the newly integrated modern technology between Virgin Mobile UAE and the ENTERTAINER, a seamless subscription model will now be available to Virgin Mobile UAE subscribers via the Virgin Mobile UAE App, as part of the partnership. The offering includes various discounts which will enable a new horizon of loyalty solutions for Virgin Mobile UAE users. The benefit of this collaboration includes a range of Buy One, Get One Free offers and other discounts and experiences across various categories, such as food & drinks, beauty & fitness, attractions & leisure and much more.The ENTERTAINER strategy prioritizes seamless and secure integration with its ever-expanding network of partners. The partnership with Virgin Mobile UAE is a testament to this core focus, as the ENTERTAINER delivers the latest technology to Virgin Mobile UAE and strives to provide their valued customers with the best offers in the country. With a commitment to secure integration, the ENTERTAINER continues to raise the bar for partnership excellence.Ahmed Gaber, CEO of the ENTERTAINER commented, "We are proud of this partnership as it’s a testimony of our latest integration capabilities and technologies. At the ENTERTAINER, we provide secure and seamless access to our platform for partners. In addition, this tallies with our rooted purpose of giving people more value for their money. Through this collaboration, we hope to enhance the overall experience of Virgin Mobile UAE customers. This is an excellent opportunity to expand our reach and offer more value to a wider customer base, making it easier for them to enjoy the best of what the UAE has to offer."Rob Beswick, MD of Virgin Mobile UAE commented, “Meeting evolving customer needs is in the DNA of the Virgin Mobile brand. The team at Virgin Mobile UAE works relentlessly to develop the best features, benefits, and value that enhance the mobile experience for our subscribers. This partnership will enable us to enhance Virgin Mobile UAE’s leading digital first experience by offering an even more comprehensive rewards program to our customers. We look forward to working together to make mobile better.”Virgin Mobile UAE places their customers at the forefront of everything they do. They ensure that their customers are seen, heard, and understood as they constantly strive to provide them with an exceptional mobile experience.

BOTIM launches first Arabic Chat GPT in the Middle East

Dubai: Astra Tech (Astra), a leading consumer technology holding group in MENA, has launched the first-ever Arabic Chat GPT in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) leveraging on expertise from the Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI), ushering in a new era of AI-driven solutions in the region. Integrated into the BOTIM app, the GPT has the potential to revolutionize access to services through conversational commerce.  BOTIM’s Arabic Chat GPT is an AI-powered platform that will cater to all BOTIM services, ensuring the information provided is always current and accurate by continuously sourcing latest information from local markets. BOTIM GPT has the potential to revolutionize the Middle East, by offering various services like international money transfers, bill payments, government services, and weather checks. The platform is under development to expand in the upcoming months to include additional services such as BOTIM stores and healthcare services, making it the ultimate one-stop-shop for users in the region.Abdallah Abu Sheikh, Co-Founder and CEO of Astra Tech, BOTIM’s parent company, stated: “BOTIM’s Arabic Chat GPT marks another significant step towards simplifying people's daily lives and transforming the global tech industry while also enhancing the capabilities of our upcoming Ultra app. We are very excited to leverage the Arabic language modeling experts at MBZUAI to pilot the service on BOTIM for our select users as we train the model. The Middle East is poised to experience a 20% annual growth rate in AI by 2030, and the UAE is set to lead the region with an average annual contribution of nearly 35%. We are excited to be at the forefront of technological innovation and creating new opportunities with local academic collaboration.”Sultan al Hajji, Vice President of Public Affairs and Alumni Relations, MBZUAI, added that “This new collaboration with Astra Tech underscores how the university’s research and subject matter expertise in natural language processing (NLP) is being deployed to address challenges and enable enhanced services for industries and their customers. We welcome further opportunities to align our scientific focus with the UAE and wider region’s vision for innovation in technology and communications.” Initially, BOTIM GPT will be available to a select group of its 100 million-plus user base before gradually expanding in the near future. Following the testing phase, users can input their inquiries into the chat field, and the model will process the sentence, providing source URLs that redirect them to more information about a particular service of interest.

Neo Noor launches in the Middle East

Dubai : Neo Noor, a next-level executive coaching company that provides bespoke one-to-one group, and corporate sessions for high-flyers has launched its range of services in the UAE. Founded by life coach and Master NLP certified trainer, Noona Nafousi, the company’s mission is to help busy executives reignite their passion, reconnect with themselves and reclaim who they are meant to be.Neo Noor’s aim is to revolutionise corporate training to help employees step into their power by using a unique ‘POWER Framework’ that Noona has personally developed after 22 years spent working as a headhunter, studying human behaviour alongside her life coaching and Master NLP training. Designed to help companies to allow their employees to build themselves up in a way that a teaching strategy will not, the POWER Framework offers proven results that Noona has witnessed first-hand time and time again with the numerous clients she works with. By allowing her clients to tap into their Personal Power, they can overcome any fear of failure, increase their self-worth, work on their ego and energy – as well as take radical responsibility for their actions, growth and communication. By implementing this POWER Framework, leaders are also taught how to lead themselves when times are tough and are taught to be inspirational so that they can inspire themselves. The sessions available with Neo Noor are designed to help executives achieve their full potential by providing them with the tools, resources and support they need to overcome obstacles and achieve their goals. The team of experienced coaches work closely with each client to understand their unique needs and tailor coaching sessions to suit their personal requirements.Whether it’s one-to-one coaching, group workshops or corporate training programmes, Neo Noor’s tried and tested sessions are designed to help executives develop new skills, build resilience and become more confident and empowered in their personal and professional lives. By enhancing their leadership skills, clients are also able to develop effective communication techniques, build stronger relationships with their colleagues and clients, as well as manage stress, improve work-life balance and increase their overall sense of wellbeing.Neo Noor’s Executive Coaching is designed for Director level and C-Suite professionals who have already achieved great things professionally but are at a crossroads and don’t know which path to take. The Corporate Workshops on offer are the perfect options for businesses who want to transform their team’s efficiency, motivation and happiness and the one-to-one coaching sessions are designed for those who are ready to take radical responsibility for their emotions and behaviours to achieve the life they deserve.Speaking on the launch, Noona Nafousi says, “I am incredibly proud and excited to launch Neo Noor in the region and be able to help high achievers to advance their career without losing themselves along the way. After working as a headhunter for twenty-two years, alongside over 12,000 hours of one-to-one interviews, I have an innate understanding of human behaviour. I’m truly obsessed with how we can all become the best versions of ourselves. Working closely with those who want to overcome obstacles and achieve their goals brings myself and the team huge joy and we look forward to bringing our results-driven method to the GCC region”.

Mars Middle East & Africa launches new Ramadan campaign

Dubai : Mars Middle East & Africa has revealed its Galaxy Chocolate Arabia latest campaign, which aims to reach one million smiles through donations during the holy month of Ramadan. The campaign's objective is to support underprivileged families across the Middle East and Africa region and its tagline, “Donate to create 1 million smiles together” is calling on individuals to donate clothes, books and toys to contribute to the cause, while Galaxy Arabia contributes Chocolate to spread generosity during the Ramadan.The Company has collaborated with several charitable organizations, such as the Kiswa, Meshwar, UAE Food Bank, Saudi Food Bank & Egyptian Food Bank, to streamline the donation process for consumers. Galaxy Chocolate Arabia has installed points of purchase stands at major supermarkets like Panda, Danube, Carrefour, Lulu, and others throughout the GCC region and Egypt. These stands showcase the household of the popular Galaxy Chocolate Arabia characters known as the “Family of Generosity” or “3a'ilat AlKaram” and feature different sections for each family member.Shoppers can visit the Galaxy Ramadan stands and scan the QR code to access the campaign website. There, they can select the relevant charitable organization, choose a location, and schedule a pickup for their Clothes, Books & toys donations.Commenting on the announcement, Obai Rahimi, Corporate Affairs Director, Mars Middle East & Africa said: “Ramadan is a time for generosity and giving back to our communities, and at Mars Middle East & Africa, we are proud to launch the Galaxy Chocolate Arabia Ramadan campaign to help those in need. Our aim is to inspire and encourage everyone to join our Family of Generosity and make a difference in the lives of underprivileged families across the region. Through this campaign, we hope to create one million smiles and spread joy during this holy month. So, let's all be Abou Kareem, Umm Kareem, Kareem or Kareema, and show our kindness and compassion to those in need.”

Lucid Air wins 2023 World Luxury Car of the year

NEWARK, CA : Lucid Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: LCID), setting new standards with the longest-range, fastest-charging electric car on the market, today announced that the Lucid Air was named the 2023 World Luxury Car of the Year in the prestigious 2023 World Car Awards.World Car jurors announced Lucid’s win at an awards ceremony at the 2023 New York International Auto Show. The World Car Awards are voted on by a jury of 100 distinguished international automotive journalists from 32 countries who selected the winners by secret ballot based on their evaluation of each eligible vehicle."We are honored to receive this World Car award, which further reinforces my belief that the Lucid Air is the best car available in the world today,” said Peter Rawlinson, CEO and CTO, Lucid Group. “Lucid’s renowned in-house powertrain technology endows the Lucid Air with a game-changing electric range of over 500 miles, demonstrating what’s possible from a technology company that fuses cutting edge software and hardware. I am extremely proud of the entire Lucid team for this accolade, and l look forward to the future advancements we have planned.” “This honor by the World Car jurors is validation of our goal to create a wholly new luxury sedan experience,” said Derek Jenkins, Senior Vice President of Design and Brand, Lucid Group. “The Lucid Air provides outstanding EV range and performance, complemented with a striking exterior design and an award-winning interior, inspired by Lucid’s California origins.”In the World Luxury Car category, Lucid Air was chosen from an initial entry list of sixteen (16) vehicles from all over the world, followed by a short list of three finalists as announced on March 7.In addition to receiving the World Luxury Car of the Year Award, this week in New York, the Lucid Air received the 2023 Newsweek Disruptor Award for Powertrain, in recognition for its groundbreaking EV technology, while also being named to the US News & World Report “2023 Best Hybrid and Electric Cars” list for “Best Luxury Electric Car.”The Lucid Air set a new industry benchmark for range with two versions that were the first EVs to achieve an EPA estimated range above 500 miles (800km). The company set these new standards thanks in part to its holistic focus on range and power, delivering cars capable of supercar levels of performance, super-fast charging, a luxurious and spacious interior, and class-leading aerodynamics.

Startups highlight future of green economy in open dialogue

Sharjah: In an open dialogue session titled "The Conscious Council: Our Collective Responsibility," hosted by the Sharjah Ramadan Majlis 2023 at the Sharjah Research, Technology, and Innovation Park (SRTIP), business leaders and heads of companies discussed the importance of environmental sustainability and Sharjah's achievements in this sector. Participants highlighted Sharjah's innovative projects at the local and international levels to manage waste, reduce carbon dioxide emissions, and convert it into energy, while noting the changing customer trends towards environmentally-friendly products and services, and the rising global awareness of the importance of investing in green economic sectors.Organised under the electrifying theme of "The Winning Combination: Where Business Meets Sustainability, the majlis held at the Sharjah Research, Technology and Innovation Park (SRTIP) was a collaborative effort between some of Sharjah's prestigious entities -- Sharjah Development and Investment Authority (Shurooq), Sharjah FDI Office (Invest in Sharjah), Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa), and the SRTIP.The open dialogue participants included Majid Jaafar, CEO of Crescent Petroleum, Abdulaziz Al-Obaidly, Operations Manager at Masdar, Sonia Weimüller, Co-Founder of VentureSouq, Khalid Al-Huraimel, CEO of Beeah Group and a number of government officials and leaders of government institutions and startups in Sharjah. Panellists stressed Sharjah's belief in the importance of cooperation between local, federal, and private entities to achieve carbon neutrality.Khalid Al-Huraimel, CEO of Bee’ah Group, praised the awareness of university students in Sharjah on sustainability and their efforts to protect the environment. He particularly lauded the efforts of three girl students -- Afra, Mahra, and Sarah -- who created an application to identify garbage bins at full capacity remotely, thereby helping clear the waste from locations with fuel efficiency and contributing to societal well-being and reducing CO2 emissions.Majid Jaafar, CEO of Crescent Petroleum, emphasised the importance of supporting emerging companies and encouraging their entrepreneurial spirit and creativity to achieve Sharjah's vision of balanced and comprehensive economic development based on knowledge and innovation.Abdulaziz Al-Obaidly, Operations Manager at Masdar, discussed the role of Masdar, a company that has been at the forefront of the sustainability sector in the UAE, in establishing the first station in the region to generate electricity from solar energy, as well as its expansion in Europe and other global markets.Sonia Weimüller, Co-Founder of VentureSouq, pointed out that supporting sustainability has significant economic returns, including attracting foreign investments, due to the growing global awareness towards investing in eco-friendly economic sectors, particularly in the agricultural and food industries.The session witnessed a large turnout, with attendees expressing their admiration for the topics raised and the sustainable and innovative initiatives presented by emerging companies in the sustainability sector. They stressed the importance of supporting these companies and encouraging their efforts to contribute to achieving Sharjah's vision.Startup showcaseOn the sidelines of the majlis, Emirati startup accelerator Sheraa showcased several promising startups such as Manhat, which provides sustainable water and floating farm solutions, and Palmade, a startup that produces biodegradable cutlery made from date-palm trees. Cycled Technologies AS and Fortyguard were also featured, offering smart waste management and recycling solutions and cloud-based AI tools to provide personalized temperature insights.SRTIP also showcased startups such as Relife, which offers a digital ecosystem empowering individuals and businesses to make faster, smarter decisions across logistics and recyclables trading. Marses, a leading robotics company in the MENA region, and Conreality, which works at the intersection of drones, blockchain gaming, and augmented reality, were also highlighted.In addition to the startup showcase, the majlis also featured a range of F&B offerings, including Paperfig, Racks Cafe, and drowsy, and performances by the Sharjah Performing Arts Academy, captivating attendees with beautiful and enchanting music. Visitors enjoyed the eclectic setting while also engaging with the entrepreneurs behind the businesses.Sharjah Ramadan Majlis 2023 concluded as an exhilarating and informative event that brought together the community, entrepreneurs, and industry experts and left attendees feeling energised and inspired.

Crayon Data bags Mint startup ICON award for SaaS

Dubai: Crayon Data has won the Mint Startup Icon Award in the category ‘SaaS’. This award upholds our vision of simplifying the world’s choices by unlocking the power of data.The second edition of Mint Startup ICON Awards 2023 was an opportunity for start-ups to augment their brand share amongst the investor community. Hosted in New Delhi’s Taj Palace, the event witnessed distinguished speakers from the corporate and investor community in India. To name a few leaders, Sanjeev Bikhchandani, Founder, InfoEdge. Nupur Garg, Founder, WinPe, Bhawna Agarwal, Country Head, HP Enterprise, Akash Saxenaa, VP, Samsung India Electronics, Aparajita Puri, Partner, McKinsey and more.The evaluation process was presided by an expert jury panel with Nupur Garg, founder, WinPE; Jai Rupani, CIO, Dinesh Hinduja Family Office; Shanti Mohan, Founder, LetsVenture; Kunal Bahl, Co-founder, Snapdeal; Satish Chander, Partner, True North; and Shivani Bhasin Sachdeva, Founder & CEO, India Alternatives. Over 200 nominations were submitted with 15 winners across categories which included Zenwork Digital, Shapos Services, Physics Wallah, BluSmart Mobility, Noise and more. The selection criteria for each stage included metrics for valuation, customer, revenue, key investors, founding board, business scalability, market size and profitability.Mint ICON awards 2022 also witnessed marquee winners from Chargebee, Zerodha, Ninjacart, Swiggy and Meesho. To be recognized amongst such key players, is an important milestone for Crayon Data’s growth in India.While headquartered in Singapore, Crayon has deep connections with the Middle East. The Middle East is an important market for the company and a significant contributor to its revenues due to an impressive list of clients in the region, including the largest banking group, a major global card issuer, and a leading digital innovations bank, among others. In the last year, the company has experienced substantial growth in its operations, and it has expanded its presence in the UAE. The GCC team is based in Dubai, where it serves clients not only in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia but also throughout the Middle East.Crayon Data currently has offices in Dubai, Chennai, and Singapore and operates in the Middle East, India, and Southeast Asia. It provides many key services and functions from its headquarters, including business operations (finance, IT, operations, legal), product and engineering (platform services, platform engineering, dev ops, data science, AI/ML research), sales operations, marketing and human resources.India ranks third in the start-up ecosystem and unicorn community. Despite slow funding, India produced 21 new Unicorns in 2022, 3X more than China, the world’s second-largest start-up ecosystem. In the period from 2015 to 2022, there has been a 15X increase in the total funding of start-ups (almost double).This award stands as a testament to the company's business model. Capital Efficiency has been our inherent philosophy since inception. The company's model over the last five years is built in a way that “wins in the real world.” Instead of chasing vanity metrics like valuations, Crayon believes in a model of sustainability, profitability, and capital efficiency.We also extend our heartiest congratulations to our fellow nominees and winners at the Mint Startup ICON Awards 2023.

Spheroid to launch AI Avatars in Augmented Reality

Dubai, UAE: Spheroid Universe, a futuristic Metaverse that augments the real world in every part of the Earth, has announced the upcoming launch of artificial intelligence (AI) Avatars that will inhabit the world around us via augmented reality (AR). This ground-breaking development will deliver breakthrough opportunities across numerous business platforms - from e-commerce and retail to advertising, sales, general customer, and consumer interactions and more.As a frontrunner in the field of Web 3.0 technology and particularly in the Metaverse, Spheroid develops tools for business that explore the potential of AR tech. The company aims to help businesses become leaders as early adopters of cutting-edge technological advances - such as the new AI Avatars that will be available shortly."The accessibility and practically unlimited potential of AI Avatars that exist within an AR world will encourage faster uptake of the latest AI and Web 3.0 technologies amongst businesses," explained Andrey Almiashev, CEO, Spheroid Universe. "There is an immense opportunity for our new AI Avatars to be deployed in customer-facing scenarios, such as in sales offices or retail environments. They will create a unique and lasting customer experience, helping brands to reposition themselves as early adopters and forward-thinking with an eye on how technology is reshaping our future. We have developed our AI Avatar product to the highest specifications, even integrating the increasingly popular ChatGPT platform to enhance communication and interactions with humans. This is an exciting time for AI and AR, as we see the boundaries between reality and technology blur even further."By integrating AI chatbot ChatGPT into its Avatars, Spheroid is ensuring the smoothest possible interactions with people at all times. The Avatars also incorporate voice recognition and voice synthesis technologies, which will make communication quick, habitual, and convenient for users.Spheroid's AI Avatars are not only intelligent, but able to be designed to take on any visual appearance without the limitations of the physical world. They can be created as unique characters that truly represent their brands, from both a visual and interactive perspective - including how they communicate with customers. This leads to a product that is incredibly flexible, with almost unlimited usage across commercial, entertainment, and educational applications, amongst others.According to Andrey Almiashev: "The combination of AI and AR technologies will redefine the way that businesses communicate with their customers over the course of the next five years. We're living in a very interesting time, during which we will be able to see for ourselves the impact that AI and AR will have on human civilisation - and we are more than happy to help businesses explore the expansive potential that will come from this."Spheroid is also planning to integrate their AI Avatars into Apple’s Smart Glasses for an even more immersive experience, which is expected to be released by Apple later this year.

UNWTO launches startup competition for women entrepreneurs

Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia - UNWTO has launched a new Startup Competition to support women tourism tech entrepreneurs and innovators across the Middle East.Announced at Biban 2023, Saudi Arabia’s largest SME conference, the Women in Tech Startup Competition: Middle East, will further advance UNWTO’s work to make tourism a pillar of women’s empowerment. The initiative gives innovators the chance to compete for enhanced capacity building and visibility. Finalists in each category will join the UNWTO Innovation Network, giving them access to the UNWTO Member States network, mentorship programs and to UNWTO scholarship opportunities.UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili, says: “Tourism startups have the power and agility to transform the sector in line with the Sustainable Development Goals. Tourism startups are also leading the way in advancing women empowerment, in the Middle East and globally, and UNWTO is delighted to support the region’s best innovators and digital entrepreneurs.”Who can apply?Startups must be led, owned or managed by women residing in any of the following countries: Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen.Idea Stage, Early Stage or Series A startups with a minimum viable product or idea that is ready to be developed and funded.Have a full-time team, a tested pilot and business plan.Be scalable with potential for international growth.Startups must also belong to at least one of the following categories:Social Impact: For startups that focus on technology in wellness, health, urban development, rural development, sustainability, and education with cross-cutting benefits with tourism.Tourism and Travel Experience: Startups focusing on the food and beverage, transportation and accommodation, travel, and retail industries to participate.Future Tech: Startups that leverage fintech, AI, AR/VR, cryptocurrency, Internet of Things, blockchain technology, digital twinning and the Metaverse.Events and Community: Startups focused on social and messaging platforms, e-sports and gaming platforms, community-based applications, events-related platforms, and education technology.Applications close at the end of July 2023 and the winners will be announced at the Tourism Tech Adventure (TTA), to be held on World Tourism Day (27 September Riyadh, Saudi Arabia).Startups can apply at: UNWTO Women in Tech Startup Competition: Middle EastUNWTO and InnovationSince 2018, UNWTO’s IEI department has launched more than 21 startup competitions and innovation challenges, covering over 150 countries around the world. With over 10,000 participants and more than US$214 million in funding, UNWTO continues its efforts to support digitalization and innovation in line with the global entrepreneurship ecosystem. Tourism has the opportunity to improve inclusiveness, local community development, and resource efficiency by leveraging innovation and digital advancements.

Sheikha Abrar Al Sabah is forging media entrepreneurship in the region

KUWAIT CITY PRNewswire/ -- There is no doubt that the appetite for film, drama, and media is rapidly increasing in the MENA region. The film and media industry in the Arab world is exponentially growing and currently being perceived as an untapped and lucrative economic opportunity.A recent outlook report by PwC showed that MENA's cinema revenue will increase by 4% in 2024 comparing to the global cinema revenue, which is to decrease by 2.4%. The report also showed that the revenue of MENA alone constitutes almost 2% of the global cinema revenue (including Asia).Gulf countries such as the UAE and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have been actively harnessing the power of this industry. The neighboring countries have been heavily investing in culture and media to unlock an opportunity for economic diversification, promote tourism, and attract investors to their countries.Kuwait hasn't been diligently involved in the economic game of cinema and media until recently. Kuwaiti drama and film content have always been on the forefront of renowned channels attracting a large pool of audience. However, the industry hasn't been tapped as an investment opportunity to boost the nation's non-oil economic sectors.Discerning the golden opportunities that this booming industry is offering, a young Kuwaiti female entrepreneur from the royal family, Sheikha Abrar Khaled Al Sabah, founded a productions company in the midst of a global pandemic to foster Kuwait's presence in this field.Abbey's Productions, a Kuwait-based production house that was founded in 2019 by the Sheikha, is dedicated to elevate the cinematic and new media content in the region. Most importantly, produce content that will depict an accurate representation of Kuwait and the region to the global audience."It is no secret that for the past ten years, our region was identified and perceived by the west in different forms. You'd find those who use 'Dubai' as a landmark to refer to the Gulf countries. And, those who signify our region with Islamic extremism, gender oppression, tents, and camels. None of that portray an accurate and fair representation of our world," stated Sheikha Abrar Al Sabah."I founded Abbey's Productions to achieve three goals. Highlight this thriving investment opportunity for Kuwait to consider it as a non-oil economic sector because it is completely overlooked. Show the world an authentic image of our region through raw stories and elevated content that would align with the current standards of the international production market. And, originate an inclusive 'Khaleeji-wood' that would fairly represent our region and people to the world," added Sheikha Abrar Al Sabah.Women and media in the GulfWhile the global gender norms and policies are shifting to promote equality in all areas of life, women in the Gulf have indeed broke so many constraints and are matching their ambitions in establishing social, political, and economic roles for them. Numerous articles have reported the transformation of the women's situation in a country like Saudi Arabia. Statistics have also shown that Arab women film makers are outpacing their counterparts in the US and Europe and leading voices in the industry. Arab News published various articles showing that women in the Gulf are changing long-held stereotypes through the media.There is an obvious emerge of Saudi women in the field and Kuwaiti women have recently started to lead the scene. This was noticed through the recent breakthrough of Netflix's drama series, The Exchange, which was written by a Kuwaiti writer and acted by Kuwaiti women. The rise of women filmmakers, writers, content creators, and directors prompted Sheikha Abrar Al Sabah's efforts to enter the field and contribute to its growth as a Kuwaiti female producer."Female filmmakers in the Gulf are breaking the stereotypical roles of women in our region and they are highly contributing to the industry. However, more women in Kuwait need to explore other fields than acting because we are in need of Kuwaiti female writers, directors, and producers depicting accurate pictures and narrating raw stories of women in our country and the region," explained Sheikha Abrar Al Sabah.She added that women in the Gulf have the power to eradicate the misrepresentation of the region on global motions, and that Kuwaiti women can reshape the nation's policies and contribute to the country's global position by capitalizing on this wide-open window that will expose the real power of Kuwaiti women in different areas of life.Kuwait's royal family member affirmed that her goal is to elevate the media content produced in the Gulf to align with the international standard of cinema and television. Accordingly, her production house, Abbey's productions, focuses on the technicalities of the produced content by adopting the most authentic stories and well-written scripts, using latest film-making and production equipment, and producing the highest quality of content.She explained: "It is not about the story. It is about how the story is portrayed, narrated, and broadcasted. My role as a female producer is to ensure the depiction of our human stories in the most real and innovative manner to impact the viewer.""For years, we've been watching Arab women being misrepresented in Hollywood. Only highlighting the passive parts of our societies and not depicting the full picture of what Arab women can do, be, and their life really is. Just like in the west, we have women who struggle in our societies. Nevertheless, we also have women entrepreneurs, CEOs, great mothers, substantial leaders, and many more. Our new media need to highlight all parts of our societies and narrate accurate raw stories of our lives. And, that's what we are doing through our produced content at Abbey's Productions. We simply narrate accurate and authentic stories of our lives as Arabs," explained Sheikha Abrar Al Sabah.Elevating the standards of Arab mediaPraising Saudi Arabia's efforts in expanding the role of women in the industry and providing stupendous opportunities through events like the Red Sea Film Festival, Sheikha Abrar Al Sabah highlighted Kuwait's role in the industry."Kuwait has always been a key player in the Gulf's drama and film industry, and now, more than ever, Kuwait needs to invest in this field and reposition itself in the 'Khaleeji-wood,'" said the Kuwaiti royal family member.She also stressed on the importance of nurturing Kuwait's film-makers, story tellers and content creators; noting how Kuwaiti film-makers are currently being acquired by Saudi Arabia and contributing to the Kingdom's emerging film industry.She added: "Kuwaiti film-makers have had their prints in the region's film and drama industry. In addition to so many Khaleeji (Gulf) drama and movies, Al Sattar (2022) on Netflix is a Saudi film but was directed by the prominent Kuwaiti director, Abdullah Al Arak. Kuwait's TV drama industry is considered to be the largest and most active drama industry in the Gulf. Our film-makers, actors, and actresses were the first to pave the way for TV drama and film in the region. Our country must capitalise on this opportunity and reposition itself through Kuwaiti media professionals."Media entrepreneurship in the GulfEntrepreneurship is a trending topic in the Arab world. There is an obvious rise in startups and a well-promoted understanding on the importance of entrepreneurship in the region. The region's governments and officials have been putting entrepreneurship as one of their priorities for economic development and youth empowerment. Governments in the Gulf have been strategically placing bolstering investments to create an ecosystem for entrepreneurs that would foster their innovation, upskill their capacities, and growth.Underlining the importance of supporting media entrepreneurs, Sheikha Abrar Al Sabah pointed that media entrepreneurship is underscored in the region. "We always hear about tech entrepreneurs, startups, social media influencers, and lifestyle businesses. However, media entrepreneurship is rarely tackled in our region despite this field's hulking revenues," she noted."I believe that festivals such as the Red Sea Film Festival and Gona Film Festival can have a larger impact on media entrepreneurs. Our region's festivals mainly target top-notch names in the field and film-making enthusiasts. Startups and media entrepreneurs need space and recognitions in such notable events," underscored Sheikha Abrar Al Sabah.The potential and rapid success of investing in the media business is yet to be recognised by entrepreneurs and angel investors. Tracing the success record of Sheikha Abrar Al Sabah's production house, Abbey's Productions, the company has managed to quickly become one of the most promising production entities given the impact of its produced drama series and content, and above all, drive sustainable profits.Abbey's Productions started off on a small-scale offering services such as redrafting scripts and providing production support. In less than three years, the company was able to allocate large investments in the latest high-tech cinematography equipment and tools. The team places strong emphasis on all the details related to production and content. Despite the market challenges during the pandemic, the company produced so many hits.One of which is the series In Mecca's Time (Bi Tawqeet Mecca), the first TV drama to be filmed at the Kabaa, the holiest site in Islam, located in Mecca. It was ranked as the #1 most viewed in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait on Abbey's last Ramadan's produced series, the Honourable Position (Hadret El Mawkef) was acquired by major Pan-Arab channels such the MBC and Dubai TV as well as the leading Middle-East streaming platform, The series was ranked as one of the most viewed series in the Gulf on the platform during Ramadan 2022. In addition, Abbey's produced two seasons of At Street No. 9 (E'and Share'a 9), a drama series that quickly gained the top viewed spots on, there is so much power that the media holds in shaping societies, decisions, forming identities and influencing state systems. The demands, lifestyle, and interests of the public audience is also rapidly changing. Accordingly, Sheikha Abrar Al Sabah explained that elevating Arab film and drama content is now becoming a vital pillar to sustain any media business."Our region's audience is now heavily exposed to great quality of content produced by other sides of the world. We must align with these international standards to maintain the interests of Arabs in their own stories. On the other hand, we have a responsibility to voice our own real stories, especially as Arab women, to the global audience. We don't have to abandon our social traditions and values to fit in the global 'woods.' We can still heavily contribute and impact the industry without opposing our own voices. I don't see that there is any contradiction between working in the media and being an Arab woman. I come from a Royal family and I am still committed and dedicated towards my mission and hopes for my country, Kuwait, to be globally positioned through the Global 'wood," concluded Sheikha Abrar Al Sabah.

Rise Studios partners with Parrot Analytics to drive data-based decisions

DUBAI: Rise Studios, a company driving investment in the MENA entertainment industry, has announced a partnership with Parrot Analytics, the entertainment industry’s leading global audience analytics and content valuation firm, to drive data-driven decisions as the company looks to streamline its content creation and distribution strategy. By leveraging Parrot Analytics' industry-leading TV demand product and data analytics teams, Rise Studios will make informed decisions to optimize content performance across various platforms. The partnership allows Rise to have a thorough understanding of regional audience demand and preferences, enabling them to develop more impactful and engaging content which resonates and captivates viewers. Commenting on the partnership, Amanda Turnbull, CEO of Rise Studios said, "Ensuring that our work is supported with insightful and meaningful data combined with our industry knowledge is important for us as a business. We are delighted to partner with Parrot Analytics who are specialists in global audience analytics and content valuation, enabling us to make informed decisions for our content creation and distribution strategy.”  "Parrot Analytics is thrilled to partner with Rise Studios to drive innovation in the entertainment industry throughout the Middle East. Combining our data-driven approach and insights with Rise Studios’ creative and platform expertise, we believe will result in transformative content that captivates and engages the audience," Laurine Garaude, Parrot Analytics’ EMEA Partnerships Director added. By leveraging Parrot Analytics’ global audience analytics, Rise Studios joins a rapidly growing roster of industry leaders, including such studios as Lionsgate, Warner Bros. Discovery, NBCUniversal, and Sony Pictures; media and technology companies including Amazon, Comcast, and Google; networks such as Sky and Turner; government agencies such as Canadian Media Fund; and streaming services such as HBO Max and Amazon Prime Video.