UAE leads GCC in employee crypto withdrawals

 Deel, a global HR platform driving the evolution of remote work has unveiled new research revealing the UAE is the frontrunner regarding employee cryptocurrency withdrawals within the GCC. The new findings are in line with the UAE's forward-looking approach to embracing innovation in the financial sector and creating regulatory frameworks that enable users to embrace new technologies with confidence.The research highlights a growing level of adoption among individuals, who are now using cryptocurrencies as a viable medium for receiving employer payments. Conducting an extensive survey, Deel engaged with over 1600 employees and over 700 organizations in the UAE to gather valuable insights.Within the GCC landscape, the UAE is currently leading the way (87%), with Saudi Arabia (8%) and Qatar (4.8%) following behind. Exploring the Deel data beyond the UAE, Egypt places itself in the spotlight by a substantial margin, witnessing over 25,000 employee withdrawals using crypto in the last 12 months. Tracking Egypt's trajectory, the roster of pioneering nations also includes Morocco, and Lebanon, each carving its path towards cryptocurrency adoption.Notably, Ethereum (ETH) claims the top spot as the preferred cryptocurrency for withdrawals, commanding 51.2%. The US Dollar backed stablecoin USDC follows suit at 24.5%, while Bitcoin (BTC) controls 20.2% of the landscape. Solana (SOL) and Dash wrap up the top five most used cryptocurrencies with 2.5% and 1.6%, respectively, contributing to the crypto withdrawals landscape.Tarek Salam, Head of Expansion from Deel, said: "The Deel research provides an interesting window on the latest trends within the employment sector. It is truly great to witness the rapid surge in cryptocurrency adoption within the UAE and the wider region. The regulators have played a commendable role in encouraging greater participation in the cryptocurrency ecosystem and it’s a trend that we will be watching with interest as adoption continues to grow.”In the ever-evolving landscape of global finance, the UAE has embraced employee cryptocurrency withdrawals. As the UAE sets the pace, other nations in the Middle East and North Africa are reflecting the rise and growing acceptance of crypto. Ethereum's prominence as the preferred cryptocurrency and the diverse utilization of other digital assets represents the dynamic nature of the elvolving financial landscape for both employers and employees who are adding cryptocurrencies to the payroll.

Vodafone Oman achieves regulatory records management milestone

Vodafone Oman has set a new industry benchmark by becoming the first telecommunications service provider in the country to adopt regulatory compliance with its Records Management Manual and Retention Schedules, in collaboration with the National Records and Archives Authority (NRAA).By adopting the latest digital documents management technologies and solutions, Vodafone Oman aims to strengthen its operational efficiency, enhance transparency and optimise its internal processes. By partnering with the NRAA, Vodafone Oman is reaffirming its commitment to upholding industry standards and best practices in regulatory compliance in line with the Archives and Records Law issued by Royal Decree No. 60/2007 and its amendments under Royal Decree 52/2022.Bader Al Zidi, CEO, Vodafone Oman, said: “From our very conception, Vodafone Oman has been determined to lead the way in the industry and dedicate ourselves to exceptional services while upholding the highest standards of compliance, data security and customer trust. We are proud to see our strategic efforts with the NRAA come to fruition after a year of careful and meticulous work from our team and we look forward to a long-standing partnership. We are extremely grateful for their invaluable expertise and guidance in developing this pioneering manual which further underlines our commitment to excellence.”As the telecommunications industry continues to evolve in the Sultanate, Vodafone Oman continues to set new standards for its peers and the nation in line with Oman Vision 2040 goals. The newly adopted Records Management Manual establishing a comprehensive framework for ensuring the control, storage, retrieval and archiving of critical documents in line with relevant regulations, promoting responsible information management practices throughout the telecommunications sector.

Etihad enhances Scandinavian connectivity in strategic codeshare deal with SAS

Etihad Airways and Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) have signed a strategic codeshare agreement, so customers of both airlines will enjoy enhanced connectivity to destinations across each other’s networks.  Guests can book on a single ticket and only have to check in once at the start of their flight, with their baggage checked through to their end destination.  Arik De, Etihad’s Chief Revenue Officer said: “Our strategic bilateral agreement with SAS, coming after the start of our flights to Copenhagen, allows more seamless travel for our guests from Northern Europe to enjoy Abu Dhabi, and to connect with our growing global network, including our expanding destinations in the Indian Sub-Continent, East Asia, Middle East, and Africa.  “The tie-in gives our guests one-stop access across Scandinavia to destinations including Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki, Gothenburg, Bergen and Aarhus.  “This agreement is just the latest in our mission to strengthen Abu Dhabi’s cultural and economic growth by welcoming more guests to our home enjoying enhanced travel benefits and greater treasured experiences.”  SAS Executive, Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer Paul Verhagen, said: “We are happy for the opportunity to introduce a new codeshare agreement with Etihad Airways.  “This partnership expands the choices available to SAS customers for journeys to Abu Dhabi and beyond, with connections to India, the Seychelles, Sri Lanka and more. We will continue to enhance international connectivity and remain committed to our promise of providing seamless travel experiences to our customers." This agreement strengthens Etihad’s relationship with SAS, including partnering with SAS in the Etihad Guest frequent flyer programme. Etihad Guest members will earn miles when they fly with SAS and vice versa for EuroBonus members, and this facility is now being extended to all flights across both airline networks.  The codeshare is set to come into full service at the end of December 2023, when customers can book across Etihad’s sales channels including and travel agents for travel from January.

HRH Crown Prince announces Esports World Cup

 His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Crown Prince and Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia, has announced the launch of the Esports World Cup, which will be held annually in Riyadh starting summer 2024. The largest global event of its kind, the competition will provide a platform that supports the gaming and esports sector and enhances the Kingdom’s position as a hub for international esports and sports competitions. HRH the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman also announced the establishment of the Esports World Cup Foundation, a non-profit organization that aims to drive a new era of collaboration between esports stakeholders and to enhance the sector’s sustainability. The announcement came during “The New Global Sport Conference”, which was hosted by the Kingdom and welcomed senior officials and global leaders in the sports, gaming, and esports sectors.HRH the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman stated, “The Esports World Cup is the natural next step in Saudi Arabia’s journey to become the premier global hub for gaming and esports, offering an unmatched esports experience that pushes the boundaries of the industry. The competition will enhance our progress towards realizing the Vision 2030 objectives of diversifying the economy, growing the tourism sector, creating new jobs in various industries, and providing world-class entertainment for citizens, residents, and visitors alike.”The launch of the Esports World Cup reflects the Kingdom’s continuous efforts to sustain and grow the esports sector, as well as its ambitions to expand the entertainment and sports industries at home and abroad. The tournament also builds on the gaming passion seen in Saudi’s youth-majority population, and on homegrown esports successes such as the first and second editions of GAMERS8. The tournament will help accelerate the realization of the National Gaming and Esports Strategy. The strategy aims to increase the sector’s contribution to the Kingdom’s GDP by more than SAR 50 billion by 2030 and create 39,000 new job opportunities.The Esports World Cup will provide an enabling environment for the growth and sustainability of players, clubs, and the sector overall. The tournament will include the most popular games in the world across all genres and have the largest prize pool in esports history. The tournament will feature a unique cross game competition format that will reward and incentivize clubs that take on the challenge to become the ultimate Esports World Cup Champion and support the growth and sustainability of all eSports clubs. The tournament will be complemented with a diversified set of activities and events that will draw visitors and tourists to the capital transforming it into a gaming capital. In fact, the indoor tournament is also planned as a key attraction to help bolster Saudi tourism during the summer. This opportunity is significant since Saudi experiences an average 16% drop-in hotel occupancy rates, an 18% decrease in tourism spending, a 13% drop in restaurant & cafe spending, and a 9% drop in consumer purchasing power during the summer.The Esports World Cup Foundation will reveal addition details about the event early in the coming year.

Tasawar by Snap Inc.: A first-of-its-kind AR exhibition redefining Saudi fashion

Snapchat, in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and the Saudi Fashion Commission, is thrilled to announce TASAWAR, an avant-garde augmented reality (AR) exhibition that pushes the boundaries of fashion and creativity through technology. Taking place during Riyadh Fashion Week, TASAWAR will run from October 21 to 24 at the King Abdullah Financial District in Riyadh, welcoming local partners, Snap Stars, fashion aficionados, as well as the general public to experience as the worlds of fashion and technology collide. The event will showcase collections from five renowned Saudi designers including Hekayat, Hindamme, ArAm, Abadia, and KAF by KAF. TASAWAR, which means "imagine" in Arabic, takes the imagination of every visitor on a journey that enriches the senses. A world where the beauty of fashion design meets the power of AR technology in a series of captivating experiences and activations. The exhibition will deliver an immersive guest-journey featuring designer showrooms, virtual runways, dress try-ons, headpiece selfie lenses, and more. These experiences will come to life through Snapchat's camera and innovative AR technology, aiming to enhance the real world, not replace it with virtual reality. Striving to educate and inspire designers from Saudi and across the region, the event will host expert keynote and panel discussions led by TASAWAR's content partner, Chalhoub Group, a leader in luxury retail and innovative solutions, covering topics such as “A Thriving Fashion Landscape in KSA”, “The Future of Fashion in KSA” and “Fusing Creativity and Technology: The Future of Design”.Snapchatters will also be able to celebrate the inaugural edition of Riyadh Fashion Week with an immersive 3D Bitmoji lens that embodies the very essence of the fashion runway. Fashion aficionados will be able to stride confidently onto the Riyadh Fashion Week runway in the most personalized experience by leveraging their very own Bitomji, allowing them to be the main star of the show.Noha Kattan, Deputy Minister of National Partnerships and Development at the Ministry of Culture said, “The Ministry of Culture is dedicated to enhancing collaboration between the public and private sectors in addition to driving cultural exchange. The TASAWARexhibition, which is considered a key outcome of our strong partnership with Snap Inc., marks a significant stride forward in enhancing the national cultural scene and propelling the fashion industry into new horizons by integrating it with the world of technology.” She continued,“The Ministry of Culture will move ahead with its efforts to provide a nurturing environment for Saudi talents, support them in building their distinctive businesses and brands as well as equip them with innovations that will allow them to reach global audiences while also highlighting the depth of our culture and its unique attributes.”“Snapchat, deeply ingrained in the daily lives of Saudis, boasts over 22 million monthly users who use the platform to easily and authentically connect with those who matter most to them. This responsibility drives us to give back to the community and actively support the flourishing local talent, the dynamic creative scene, as well as the booming business ecosystem. This is precisely what we are achieving through TASAWAR, we're empowering the next generation of Saudi designers and brands that are leading the way in the digital transformation at play in Saudi Arabia by leveraging our AR technology and our ecosystem of local partners and creators,” said Abdulla Alhammadi, Regional Business Lead at Snap Inc. With over 85 percent of users in KSA interacting with lenses everyday, Snapchat's mission is to unlock previously unimaginable creative possibilities through AR, and help make the fashion industry even more personal, accessible and convenient. TASAWAR comes as part of a partnership between Snapchat and the Ministry of Culture to promote the inaugural edition of Riyadh Fashion Week globally. With its innovative approach, TASAWAR promises to be a must-visit exhibition that showcases the limitless possibilities of AR in the industry, changing the way people experience fashion and beauty.

Sobha Realty renews sponsorship agreement with Al Nasr Club

Sobha Realty, a leading real estate developer in Dubai, renewed its sponsorship agreement with Al Nasr Club for its first football team, in line with its efforts to support the sports sector in Dubai and worldwide.The agreement was signed during a meeting held at Al Nasr Club’s headquarters, in the presence of H.E Mansoor Al Fallasi, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Al Nasr Club Investment, Mr. Saad Abdulla Alhammadi, Vice Chairman of Al Nasr Club Investment Co, Noura Aljasmi, member of the Board of Directors of Al Nasr Club Investment and Francis Alfred, Managing Director of Sobha Realty.As part of the partnership, the first team’s players will wear jerseys embellished with Sobha Realty’s logo during all the club’s season-long matches.During the meeting, H.E. Mansoor Al Fallasi, expressed his delight on continuing the sponsorship agreement with Sobha Realty. In addition, H.E. Al Fallasi highlighted the long-standing role of the company in promoting sports, which is reflected through the extension of the sponsorship agreement with the club’s first team.  “We share a common vision with Sobha Realty, especially in terms of our ambitions and passion for innovation and success. It is our delight to renew our partnership with a renowned company, which has delivered positive outcomes at various levels in the past year. We look forward to achieving more milestones in the coming years,” H.E. Al Fallasi said.Francis Alfred, Managing Director of Sobha Realty, said: “We are excited to renew our partnership with Al Nasr Club’s first football team. This move serves as a testament to our shared goals, commitment and accomplishments, which define our partnership with this prestigious club.With the renewal of the sponsorship agreement, we are further fortifying our relationship with Al Nasr Club for yet another season, an association that is based on mutual respect and a common desire for achieving excellence.”“The extension further signifies our unwavering commitment to supporting the Al Nasr Club, as they continue to inspire fans and achieve new milestones. We are excited to commence a new season of exciting victories, strong collaboration and ongoing success of Sobha Realty and Al Nasr Club,” he added.

French sustainable cosmetics take center stage at Beautyworld Middle East 2023

In Dubai from October 30th to November 1st , the global beauty industry will gather at Beautyworld Middle East 2023, the largest trade show in the industry dedicated to wellness, perfumes, and cosmetics in the Middle East. This major meeting place for manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and industry experts offers an ideal platform for showcasing the industry’s latest trends, innovations, products, and services.For the 27th edition of the show, Business France, the national agency supporting the international development of the French economy, is organizing the French Pavilion with 100+ businesses. This highly anticipated participation is an opportunity for visitors to discover French sustainability and cutting-edge innovations in the beauty industry.Located in hall 3, the French Buzz Zone, will serve as a hub for innovation, spotlighting seven French businesses selected for the quality of their products. This corner, dedicated to innovation aims to reflect the dynamism of the French cosmetics industry.The latest developments in the industryThe continuously changing beauty industry is leading the way in shaping various significant trends that are revolutionizing the field. Presently, consumers prioritize the adoption of natural, clean beauty products that are made with the finest natural ingredients, all while being free from harmful substances. This commitment to purity and sustainability aligns with the fundamental principles deeply cherished by French cosmetics companies.Axel Baroux, French Trade & Invest Commissioner stressed:” French cosmetics brands have long been dedicated to infusing their products with natural goodness, aligning seamlessly with the global drive towards positive impact and a steadfast commitment to the principles of sustainability and environmental responsibility.”Personalization is also a significant trend, with skincare tailored to individual needs. Sustainability and ethics are at the forefront, with growing demand for environmentally friendly products and responsible production practices. The beauty industry is also committed to being more inclusive, offering a more diverse range of skin tones and representing a wider variety of people. From another perspective, technology is playing a growing role, with innovations such as smart beauty devices.France’s position as a world leaderUndoubtedly, France holds a pivotal position in the cosmetics industry, notably due to its substantial impact on beauty trends. France has consistently been celebrated for its proficiency in cosmetics and beauty items. Its top-tier products have gained a distinguished global reputation, owing to their groundbreaking characteristics and sophisticated formulations, developed in specialized cosmetics research laboratories. Furthermore, young companies draw advantages from the prestige of well-established luxury brands, which have cultivated genuine renown around “Made in France”, a hallmark of quality and prestige.These factors have contributed to a 2.5% growth in the French cosmetics industry compared to 2021 and have enabled it to uphold a substantial market share of 22% in the United Arab Emirates.An opportunity to accelerate the growth of Business France Marketplace in facilitating dynamic partnerships between middle eastern and French entities exhibitors.Business France Cosmetics Marketplace aims to bolster French enterprises across a dedicated platform offering early exposure before an exhibition fostering connections and business. With the rise of e-commerce in global trade preferred by 70% to 80% of BtoB decision makers according to McKinsey and currently representing more than 25% of B2B trade—Business France invests in e-export solutions. Embracing e-commerce doesn't replace traditional export channels but supplements them, enabling more exporters and increasing the visibility of "Made in France" products. Business France's Marketplace democratizes e-commerce, providing free access for French companies to digitize their product catalog, aiming to make French SMEs visible internationally. French exhibitors from Business France Pavilion can be contacted directly through the platform here : the 2023 edition of Beautyworld Middle East, Yves Rocher, the renowned beauty company in France and abroad, is the official partner of the French Pavilion at the show. A pioneer of botanical cosmetics, Yves Rocher is committed to sustainability, offering eco-friendly beauty products. This partnership underscores the shared commitment to natural goodness, sustainability, and positive impact in the cosmetics industry, promoting the best of eco-friendly beauty.

Kartell gears up for Dubai Design Week and hints at grand opening in Dubai Mall

Kartell, the iconic brand synonymous with innovative design and lifestyle, is set to make waves at the upcoming Dubai Design Week from November 7th to November 12th, 2023. This event will mark a significant milestone in Kartell's journey, showcasing the brand's unwavering commitment to pushing the boundaries of design and sustainability. The excitement doesn't end there, as Kartell is proud to announce its grand opening in the prestigious The Dubai Mall Zaabeel on November 8th, perfectly aligned with the spirit of Dubai Design Week.MY KARTELL“My Kartell” exemplifies a way of life that is dedicated to the pursuit of novelty and innovation.For years, Kartell has served as a creative workshop where designers are tasked with conceptualizing industrial products. Now, these designers are also being encouraged to apply the same approach and expertise to expanding Kartell’s product range and creating items made from diverse materials for various indoor and outdoor applications. From cutting-edge furniture items like lamps, mirrors, trays, and chairs, to comprehensive living space arrangements complete with rugs, lamps, sofas, and armchairs, Kartell encompasses a wide array of offerings. The ingenuity of our designers is what transforms an idea into a tangible product or a collection of products catering to all types of lounge furnishings. This endeavor epitomizes our brand’s industrial transformation and cultivates a lifestyle that embodies the product and brand culture. “My Kartell” signifies the strong sense of belonging felt by everyone within our organization, our customers, and all those who resonate with our products and design philosophy. Market studies project an increase in demand for high-end products, which coincides with our firm position within this segment. Not only do we strive to maintain competitive pricing, but we also distinguish ourselves through the design essence of our offerings and our presentation style.“It all starts with our stores”, highlights Claudio Luti, the president of Kartell. “Today, our stores have a pivotal role in our overall sales strategy. These stores not only serve as a platform for customers to make purchases but also provide a unique shopping experience. Customers can explore a diverse blend of new and timeless Kartell products, receive personalized assistance during their purchases, and seek guidance on how to seamlessly integrate a product with their existing decor, even if it involves different styles”.Kartell retailKartell’s retail strategy involves opening more expansive stores along prominent shopping streets in some of the world’s most breathtaking cities. These new stores will feature a spacious layout, moving away from the multi-floor design that was favored in earlier stores. The goal is to curate larger and more lifestyle-oriented collections that cater to customers’ preferences and allow for customization to align with their individual needs and home aesthetics. The stores will play a crucial role in establishing and reinforcing the brand identity of Kartell. Therefore, meticulous attention is given to the interior design and maintaining a cohesive layout that harmonizes with the brand’s clear message conveyed in our catalog.Moreover, Kartell recognizes that it’s not sufficient to merely present its products in stores. We are also investing more and more in staff training, fostering customer loyalty, developing store-specific marketing plans, and enhancing our services to ensure a comprehensive and exceptional shopping experience.InternationalizationKartell acknowledges the vast opportunities presented by today’s open global market, leading to focus on expanding in specific regions while consolidating our presence in key existing markets and exploring new prospects. Europe continues to be Kartell’s primary market, with France and Germany taking the lead, followed by Northern European countries. The United States is also gaining importance in Kartell’s global strategy, highlighted by the recent opening of a flagship store in Miami and another on Madison Avenue in New York. Additionally, Kartell’s presence in the Eastern markets, including Japan, South Korea, and China, is experiencing rapid growth, further enhanced by partnerships in the UAE and surrounding the Mediterranean basin.ContractIn the Contract sector, Kartell has earned recognition as a reliable partner, particularly in large-scale projects. Our ability to collaborate with architects, designers, construction companies, and finishing experts has positioned us as a sought-after mediator. Kartell’s approach is characterized by flexibility, creativity, and customized services to develop tailored furnishing solutions for projects of all sizes. While our standard product catalog is available, Kartell also offers custom-made items that are industrially produced, ensuring uncompromised product design and quality to fulfill specific contractual requirements.MyKartell@homeTo cater to customers seeking interior design advice, Kartell has launched an innovative service called MyKartell@home. This service involves a team of expert KArchitects available at Kartell stores to assist customers in designing and implementing solutions for their specific needs. To request this service, customers can bring a room layout plan, photographs of the existing setting, and a list of any furniture pieces they wish to incorporate with new Kartell items to their nearest Kartell store.OnlineOnline sales have become a significant aspect of Kartell’s retail strategy, whether through direct channels or partnerships with specialized online portals. These online platforms serve as an essential complement to in-store sales, offering opportunities to promote the Kartell brand and expand the market by engaging in dialogue with customers. Recognizing the growing importance of customer service and direct communication in the digital realm, Kartell has received the prestigious Altagamma’s Best In Class Digital Award for Design for the second consecutive year.Kartell loves the planetIn line with their dedication to social and environmental sustainability, Kartell has expanded on their 2018 manifesto by incorporating additional principles and virtuous actions. Kartell strives to use recycled or sustainable materials for its new products, including certified wood, glass, ceramics, and metal. The brand aims to transition its entire production process to sustainable practices as quickly as possible and has already made progress by incorporating recycled materials into many of its products. Beyond eco-friendly materials, Kartell also emphasizes sustainability in areas such as financial management, human resources, and social responsibility, demonstrating a holistic commitment to a more sustainable future.

ENOC Group unveils innovative in-store audio solution

ENOC Group, a leading integrated global energy player, announced a partnership with South African company ‘Shop Beat’ to enhance customer engagement and delivery of a unique shopping experience across ZOOM convenience stores. Through the partnership, ZOOM gains access to Shop Beat’s innovative in-store audio solution that seamlessly integrates music, advertising messages, broadcasts, and prayer times. The solution will also feature the “Adhan” for the first time in petrol stations in Dubai using tailored latitude/longitude calculations to ensure accurate implementation.Underscoring ENOC Group’s dedication to customer-centric innovation, the solution aims to redefine ZOOM’s retail experience among the customers. The adoption of the solution is expected to elevate customers’ day-to-day experience offering an immersive shopping environment that not only entertains but also informs customers, revolutionising the way they interact with brands and products.His Excellency Saif Humaid Al Falasi, Group CEO, ENOC, said: “As part of our commitment to advancing customers’ experience, ENOC Group is dedicated to adopting innovative solutions contributing towards the development of the country’s retail sector. This partnership underpins the Group’s commitment to bringing cutting-edge digital solutions while enhancing service excellence.”In line with the UAE’s vision to strengthen and build a sustainable economy, ENOC Group continuously aims to drive innovation across the Group through the launch of multiple initiatives. This includes the integration of Microsoft Azure OpenAI Service into the Group’s business operations, leveraging ChatGPT AI capabilities, launching an accelerator programme “NEXT” to cater to the increasing demand in the UAE for innovative fuel supply solutions, as well as the 'Masar' programme, which is focused on digital integration across all divisions.Launched in 2009, ZOOM has become part of everyday life for the UAE residents, offering access to a wide range of products on-the-go. ZOOM has a variety of formats ranging from service station C-stores to mini-marts and stores on the Metro network as well as large scale standalone supermarkets in several residential communities such as The Sustainable City, JLT, as well as at the human-centric city of the future-Expo City Dubai.ZOOM accepts a variety of payment methods including VISA, MasterCard, ENOCPay, Nol Payment, Nol Top-up and Dubai Now. Customers can also claim points through the YES rewards programme and get access to exclusive offers and promotions.

Star studded new global sport conference concludes in Riyadh

The inaugural New Global Sport Conference co-hosted by the Saudi Esports Federation and Saudi Arabia Ministry of Sport, featured industry heavy weights including Cristiano Ronaldo, Gianni Infantino, President of FIFA, Toshimoto Mitomo, Executive Vice President at Sony and Justin Yuan, CEO of Moonton Games.Speakers discussed the convergence of esports and sports, the growing global gaming audience and identifying ways to unlock the full potential of the growing sector. The conference attendees were the first to witness the unveiling of the Esports World Cup trophy on stage. Ralf Reichert, co-founder of ESL was appointed as the CEO of the Esports World Cup Foundation as its CEO. Speaking at the event Ralf Reichert, newly appointed CEO of the Esports World Cup Foundation said: “My purpose was always to build something for the players, so it becomes an industry. And although I think esports is in good shape, it still misses a global stage for all players across games and for those superstars. The Esports World Cup is the next logical evolution, this is the real deal, this is what can bring the industry together and forward.” Danny Tang Co-founder of VSPO commented on the announcement: “It's a momentous announcement and a huge moment for our industry, not only for participants like us but also for fans worldwide. An investment of this scale and commitment of this kind, provides multiple opportunities and opens up new experiences for the players and fans. For everyone that works in esports, it is a strong reminder of why we are here - to build something that connects people across the world.” Jasmine Skee, CEO of Guild Esports added: “The Esports World Cup is an exciting milestone for the esports industry because it is all about supporting teams, which is an important factor for Guild Esports. What is just as important is that both the current crop of pro-players and the budding esports talent of this generation now have a clear pinnacle of the sport to aspire to. To finally have that within esports is incredibly meaningful.”

Raja Trad honoured with the “Life Achievement Award’ at the MENA Digital Awards

Raja Trad, an industry veteran and former Executive Chairman of Publicis Groupe Middle East, was honoured with a Life Achievement Award at the MENA Digital Awards last night. Affectionately called ‘The Gentleman’ by those who knew him, Raja is recognised as one of the pioneering figures who has greatly contributed to the development and growth of the communications industry in the region. Presented in front of a distinguished audience of peers, industry leaders and brands, the Life Achievement Award marks another crowning moment in Raja’s celebrated career. Najla Mazboudi, Founder of MENA Digital Awards said, "Raja Trad stands out as a pioneering figure in the advertising sector of our region, earning the well-deserved moniker, the industry’s ‘Gentleman’. His distinction not only stems from his professional accomplishments but is rooted in his outstanding humility, a resolute commitment to reliability, and a consistent readiness to offer assistance to those in need. His values and contributions epitomize the spirit of the MENA Digital Awards, making us exceptionally proud to bestow this honour upon him this year.”Raja started with Leo Burnett in 1981 and assumed various leadership roles over the next four decades, where he last served as Executive Chairman for Publicis Groupe ME & Turkey. He is credited for transforming the Groupe from a primarily advertising and media-led company to one that is platform-led, data-driven and technology-focused. On accepting this award, Raja commented, “I am truly grateful and honoured to be amongst my peers and dear friends, accepting this Life Achievement Award. This recognition is a tribute to the collective efforts of extraordinary talents, visionary leaders, and trusting clients and partners who have been instrumental in shaping this remarkable journey and the transformation of the communications industry as a whole. I remain optimistic about the future of our industry and am excited to witness the continued evolution and growth yet to come.” Amongst his many accolades, Raja was named Lynx Advertising Person of the Year at Dubai Lynx and was appointed to the board of the Dubai International Chamber Advisory Board and the Dubai Design and Fashion Council by the Dubai Government. He has also been knighted by the National Order of the Cedar in Lebanon. First established in 2014, the MENA Digital Awards is a bespoke awards show whose purpose is to promote digital innovation and media in the MENA region. It is the first awards show to honour the digital efforts of global agencies and global clients in the region. The MENA Digital Awards offers the ideal platform to recognise excellence in the use of digital technologies and media and honour the people and brands behind this progress that takes the communication industry to the future.

SKIN111 ventures into dental care with new facility in DIFC

SKIN111 Medical & Aesthetic Clinic, an award-winning premium chain of aesthetic and wellness centres, is spreading its wings into the realm of advanced dental care with the launch of THE CLINIC SKIN111 in Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). Transforming an existing facility, the new clinic not only features innovative dental care services but also weaves together the worlds of healthcare and aesthetics. This move seamlessly unites advanced dental care and aesthetics within one distinguished location where professionals and entrepreneurs from around the world gather every day to conduct business and socialise. THE CLINIC is the first in SKIN111’s portfolio to include dental care services and is the first dental care centre in DIFC. It comprises a diverse team of specialists with expertise encompassing a wide spectrum of dental and aesthetic solutions. The new clinic also extends its services to include internal medicine, ensuring truly holistic healthcare for its patients. With multilingual staff, SKIN111's new clinic aims to add a personal touch to patient care, ensuring effective communication, cultural sensitivity, and trust. The clinic uses this focus on human connection to create an inclusive and positive environment that not only enhances the quality of care but also guarantees greater patient satisfaction.Commenting on the launch of the new facility, Ms. Supreet Kaur, Chief Operating Officer of SKIN111 Group, said, “We are pleased to unveil our new clinic, representing a significant step in our ongoing mission to deliver a comprehensive healthcare solution to our valued clientele. Dental health constitutes a fundamental facet of overall well-being, and with this introduction, we eagerly present a unified and holistic approach to both dental and aesthetic care within a single facility.”“The introduction of the latest dental care services at THE CLINIC SKIN111 combines top-tier dental care with the brand’s existing dental services, revolutionising the UAE's aesthetics and wellness landscape. By providing a holistic and comprehensive solution for clients looking to achieve their beauty, dental, and wellness goals with utmost dedication to perfection,” she added.The centre provides various solutions including Philips Zoom whitening, Invisalign, veneers, crowns and bridges, dental implants, dental and cosmetic fillings, orthodontics, oral surgery, root canal treatment, gum treatment, TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) therapy, general and family dentistry, and general hygiene.In addition to the remarkable dental services, the clinic is set to implement SKIN111's specialities in IV vitamin detox drip therapy and aesthetics treatments within the same location. These include procedures such as HIFU, laser hair removal, hydra facial, and injectables such as botox, fillers, skin boosters, and threads. This comprehensive approach underscores their commitment to delivering complete healthcare solutions for beauty, dental, and wellness goals, ensuring clients receive the finest care from the inside out.With the introduction of the comprehensive range of services at the clinic, SKIN111 is adding a new dimension to its exciting portfolio of exceptional wellness and aesthetic solutions. It has introduced an array of advanced technologies and dental packages. Notable offerings include Philips Zoom whitening for AED 990, dental scaling and polishing for AED 250, as well as special packages like receiving Zoom Whitening for free with the purchase of 1ml lip filler or Ultimate IV drip for AED 1950. A comprehensive full-body healthcare assessment is also available for only AED 290, which includes OligoScan vitamin analysis, InBody, and a dental check-up, a remarkable value worth AED 1800.SKIN111 Medical & Aesthetic Clinic is a pioneer healthcare provider in DIFC and leading provider of IV vitamin drips in Dubai, with this new facility boasting the prestigious title of an Invisalign Diamond Apex Provider. The introduction of this new clinic reinforces the brand’s mission to redefine wellness and aesthetics in the UAE, ensuring clients receive exceptional care for their beauty, dental, and wellness needs, all within one trusted location.Founded in 2009, SKIN111 sets itself apart as a premium health, wellness, and aesthetics clinic in the UAE. The clinic puts people first with its numerous invasive and non-invasive cutting-edge treatments that work hand-in-hand with traditional medicine. Specializing in bespoke personalized beauty, anti-ageing, and aesthetic dermatology, SKIN111 also offers innovative preventive medicine solutions, enabling early diagnosis of potential genetic-driven chronic conditions for their patients.

CYBERIA announces first Akamai DDoS scrubbing center in Saudi Arabia

Riyadh: CYBERIA, a leading Internet and Information Security Services Provider in the Kingdom today announced that one of its key partners Akamai Technologies, Inc. will be launching a DDOS scrubbing center in Saudi Arabia. According to CYBERIA, this scrubbing center will be the first of its kind in the Kingdom as it is part of a largely distributed platform (Prolexic) dedicated only for DDoS scrubbing. The new scrubbing center is expected to go live by November this year. The Middle East is rising as a significant force in the global economy and is predicted to accelerate its economic growth over the coming years, increasing the risk and scope of perilous cyberthreats. As cyberthreats evolve, and more customers seek “always on” DDoS protection, having an in-country scrubbing center is crucial for eliminating latency and delivering exceptional end-user experiences.Akamai has been actively serving the Kingdom for Content Delivery and Security services for many years through its local Edge nodes – connected to same underlying backbone that powers its edge network today — a massively distributed footprint spanning more than 4,100 edge PoPs across 131 countries.With the escalating threat landscape faced by organizations in Saudi Arabia, the introduction of a new scrubbing center and the empowered Akamai’s DDoS protection platform (Prolexic) will provide enhanced protection for businesses. This is particularly crucial for industries at elevated risk, including banking, financial services and insurance, healthcare, the public sector, large enterprises, group companies, and ecommerce. These measures will contribute to the overall improvement in response time and performance when it comes to mitigating cyberattacks."This new DDOS scrubbing center is another confirmation that the Kingdom has proven itself to be a major global player in Information Technology and Cyber Security with the guidance of the Vision 2030. It will also help maintain the balance between Digital Privacy and Cyber Security" says Jack Diab, Chief Business Development Officer for Cyberia.“In recent years, the economy has witnessed substantial growth, driven by the diversification and emergence of both new startups and established multinational corporations. However, this vibrant business landscape also expands the potential for cyberattacks, underscoring the importance of a localized focus on cybersecurity. Together with our expanding cybersecurity portfolio and the thousands of dedicated security professionals, we affirm our acknowledgment of this key global market. We are dedicated to protecting our customers' data and strengthening our presence in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia” says Jenice Bhatia, Regional Channel Manager at Akamai Technologies.

The third season of Amazon UNIVERSITY Esports UAE begins

Dubai: Amazon UNIVERSITY Esports, the premier university education and esports project, has announced the launch of its third season in the MENA region, which promises to be bigger, better, and more exhilarating than ever before. The previous season of Amazon UNIVERSITY Esports saw participation from more than 1,500 students from over 75 universities across the MENA region. Globally, the competition held more than 100,000 students from 26 countries, making it one of the most prominent intercollegiate esports tournaments worldwide.As of 2023, the MENA region is the world's fastest-growing domestic gaming market, with over 377 million gamers, competing with Europe and America. Globally, there are 3.24 billion gamers. A Statista Global Consumer Survey shows that the UAE has the world's highest percentage of adult gamers, with nine out of ten participating.The country is investing heavily in the gaming sector with the ‘Abu Dhabi Gaming’ initiative, launched last year, striving to develop regional talent and host year-round gaming events. Sponsors to keep growingFor the third consecutive year, Amazon is the main sponsor and namesake of the project. This demonstrates Amazon’s continued support for the growing esports and education sectors.Shahid, the first video-on-demand (VOD) service in the Arab world, powered by MBC Group, has reaffirmed its commitment to this project. In addition to their continued support in KSA, Shahid is expanding its sponsorship to UAE, further fueling the growth of esports in the region.Much more than just an esports competitionAs with the previous season, the third season will include a wide range of educational activities, workshops, and the UNIVERSITY Tour. The tour visits universities across the country, introducing students to the exciting esports ecosystem and providing insights into potential career paths.Moreover, this season continues to provide students with unparalleled opportunities to gain their first professional experiences within esports. From broadcasting to marketing, management, and beyond, participants will have the chance to explore diverse career options and develop valuable skills.“We are excited to kick off our third season with the support of Amazon," said Mario Pérez, CEO of MENATech. "This season promises to be our best yet, with even more universities, participants, and opportunities for students to learn and grow within the esports industry."

MarTech firm Reputation House receives AED600mln worth of potential new partners

DUBAI: Reputation House, one of the world’s leading online reputation management companies based in the USA, today revealed that they firm has received AED600 million ($163 million) worth of potential buyers out of 457 visitors to their booth. 35 companies set up exclusive meetings with Reputation House and discussed collaborations. The martch firm confirmed that four companies have pledged to move forward with the partnerships.With 10 years in the market, Reputation House has helped establish a strong online reputation for more than 1000 international corporations including governments, private entities, non-profits, and individuals. Reputation House is known for its expertise in enhancing and safeguarding online reputation, developing AI software to monitor, analyze and timely respond to mentions on the Internet, such as Reputation House App for large-scale online data analysis and My Reputation App for small businesses and personal use.On the sidelines of the show, a panel titled Creating Dynamic Social Content at Marketing Mania where the Reputation House spokesperson was a panelist, discussed how one can create impactful content that resonates with brands and create an impact on the audience.Mr. Nikita Prokhorov, Executive Director of Reputation House, said: “We are relatively new in the UAE. And we are impressed to see the visitors turn up and the impact of the show. New partnerships at the show boosted our confidence for our expansion in the UAE and wider MENA region. We thank new partners who trusted in our solutions and move forward for collaborations. We thank the Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy and Gitex Global who provided an excellent platform to demonstrate our unique services for both government corporations and private entities. At the panel discussions, we learned a lot from UAE experts and shared our US and Hong Kong experiences. The show created a lasting impression on us. Based on our success at the show, we plan to come up in a bigger way with more specialised services next year.”Expand North Start and Marketing Mania in collaboration with Gitex Global, are the largest and specialised startup investors and marketing trade show in the MENA region which gathered international, regional and local companies and experts. The organisers of the show said more than 1800 startups exhibited, while more than 1000 visitors from across 65 countries attended the show.Reputation House, based in the USA, is one of the world’s leading online reputation management agencies with offices in the UAE, Hong Kong, Moldova, and the USA. The agency specializes in detecting issues and fixing online performance: Search Engine Reputation Management (SERM), online mentions monitoring, online reputation analytics, lead generation, deleting information from websites and search engines, and evaluating digital engagement and coverage.

Samer Mohamad discusses Yasmina: Yango's breakthrough AI Assistant in MENA

In this exclusive interview with Samer Mohamad, Yasmina Regional Director for MENA at Yango, Adgully delves into the remarkable unveiling of Yasmina, Yango's most human-like AI assistant, at GITEX 2023. This cutting-edge technology promises to redefine the AI landscape, offering users an experience like never before. Mohamad sheds light on the intent and innovation behind Yasmina, highlighting the seamless fusion of AI intelligence with cultural nuances. He says that Yango's mission is to not just provide information but enhance the human experience in a profound way. Read more to understand how Yasmina combines cutting-edge technology with a deep understanding of Middle Eastern culture. Excerpts:Can you tell us more about Yango's most human-like AI assistant unveiled at GITEX 2023 and what sets it apart from other AI assistants in the market?What makes Yasmina unique is the intent and the technology behind Yasmina. Our mission at Yango was to merge AI intelligence with cultural awareness.Yasmina's technological foundation consists of natural language understanding, speech recognition, and speech synthesis. To build the speech recognition component of Yasmina, we worked with hundreds of people from Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam, and more. This wide variety of voices, spanning various ages and genders, empowered Yasmina to recognize diverse speech nuances and dialects.Our intent is to continuously evolve Yasmina, so it becomes a part of the social and cultural environment and contributes to improving the quality of life for people locally.Yasmina helps people make informed decisions, use precious resources like time more wisely and run their homes, offices, and lives better. Lending a helping hand to parents, Yasmina is capable of recognizing if the user is a child and activates age-appropriate content and language for children. In short, Yasmina helps people enjoy a higher quality of life — exactly what we wanted to achieve at Yango.How do you see the Middle East market responding to this new AI assistant, particularly in terms of its "Khaleeji personality"?The Middle East has one of the oldest heritages in the world and the governments and communities have successfully retained their unique identities, cultures and values while making remarkable progress in business and development. The people are very tech-savvy, well aware of the potential of technology and at the same time rooted in their culture and traditions.Yango has invested considerably in understanding the preferences and needs of the people of this region, and we have used all our research and people’s engagement to build the unique personality of Yasmina.The feedback that we received from early adopters was all very positive; people simply loved Yasmina and found the assistant to be funny and human-like. The name for the voice assistant was also carefully selected via popular vote.Yasmina is still learning, so we would like to invite people from the UAE to sign up for public beta testing at We would love to learn more from them about their interaction with Yasmina and make the assistant even more local.Given your role as Yasmina Regional Director for MENA at Yango, what are the specific challenges and opportunities you anticipate when introducing this AI assistant in the Middle East?Our biggest and most significant challenge from the stage of conceptualizing has been to understand how we can add value to the rich and diverse society of the Middle East with our product while staying true to the mission of merging AI intelligence with cultural awareness.We have invested significantly in understanding the countries, rich heritage, and aspirations of the people and using these insights to build our unique offering - the most human-like AI assistant.Another opportunity for us was to go GLOCAL – think global and work local.We involved a large number of regional content professionals who brought local understanding and awareness to us. They perfected thousands of dialogues, which were then used to fine-tune the assistant's model and train Yasmina to speak fluently and naturally.Could you elaborate on how this AI assistant's "intellectual smartness" and "cultural awareness" will enhance user interactions and experiences?What sets Yasmina apart from other assistants is the ability to maintain engaging, fun, and consistent dialogues that feel like you are talking to a real person. Yasmina’s ability to engage in a human-like conversation is based on a proprietary large language model that was thoroughly fine-tuned with the help of hundreds of content professionals, who edited and perfected Yasmina’s dialogues. Yasmina recognizes if the user is male or female, understands the major Arabic dialects, speaks Khaleeji fluently, and will soon be able to both speak and understand English.On a more practical level, Yasmina works as a smart home center: you can ask Yasmina to adjust the room temperature, turn on the vacuum, or dim the lights. More than just an app on your phone, Yasmina can be built into other apps and smart home devices, including smart speakers.In your view, how does this AI assistant change the perception of AI from being a tool for providing information to becoming a valuable addition to our human experience?Yasmina is built as a technology enabler weaving Artificial Intelligence into the lives of people to enhance the quality of their life. For us, Artificial Intelligence is a tool that enriches the human experience in our daily lives, homes, offices, and social and cultural interactions. AI will be much closer to the people, for example, transforming homes into smart homes that can “think” of the likes and preferences of the homeowner; smart assistants helping professionals to manage their busy lives and entertain and educate their kids; and tools to enhance efficiency and convenience.As a licensed Project Management Professional (PMP), how do you plan to manage and oversee the expansion and deployment of this AI assistant across the MENA region? What strategies are you implementing to build relationships between clients and stakeholders in the MENA region, especially in the context of this new AI assistant?Yango is all about Bridging Innovations and Enriching Communities Globally.Our mission is to bring global innovations to local communities, fostering connections and enhancing everyday living experiences. As the Yasmina Regional Director for MENA, I carry the legacy of Yango and our people-first approach in my work.Our strategic decision was to launch Yasmina at GITEX 2023 which attracts MENA stakeholders, and build a stronger presence in the UAE, the most remarkable hub of innovation and technology today.Yango's educational journey is an interesting blend of technical knowledge and business dynamics. How do these experiences contribute to your approach to the regional launch of the human-like AI assistant ?Yango aspires to provide local communities with choice when it comes to deciding which products to use — global or local ones.We will follow our regular route: offer consumers to beta-test our product and then choose the best version of Yasmina together. Add great sound quality and CMF to the mix and you have an advanced AI product that’s also your best buddy at home.We are continuously refining Yasmina and we want to enhance the assistant’s fluency, creativity, and versatility.Can you provide insights into user feedback and initial reactions to the launch of this AI assistant at GITEX 2023, and how Yango plans to iterate and improve based on this feedback?As for any business that creates a new product, our biggest challenge (which is also our biggest opportunity) is to build value for the people of the UAE and the Middle East. Understanding user experiences and feedback is not only vital, but central to our design approach; hence we have opened the first public beta testing of Yasmina for our community across the region at yasmina.yango.comInitial reactions from GITEX visitors were very inspiring. We saw users enjoy their interactions with Yasmina and bring back friends to test the new assistant.But our team is working hard on the beta testing, and we really look forward to shaping the assistant into its best version while revealing it to thousands of early adopters in the region..

Saudi Sports for All Federation launches fitness campaign

 The Saudi Sports for All Federation (SFA) has launched a brand campaign under the hashtag #MoveYourWorld. This campaign aims to inspire all societal groups in Saudi Arabia to engage in physical activity both indoors and outdoors, under all kinds of climatic conditions, to sustain, encourage and raise physical activity levels. SFA strives to accomplish the goals of the awareness campaign which runs through August 8th, by using digital methods, platforms, and billboards that reach the various sectors of society. Subsequently, to raise and capture the public’s awareness of the value of exercise, the campaign collaborated with numerous influential individuals and groups to encourage people to follow its social media accounts, and share content under the hashtag #MoveYourWorld. All of which is supported by the campaign’s main video, and spreading motivational phrases that aid in raising community awareness of the importance of exercising.This campaign falls under the Saudi Sports for All Federation’s vision toward creating an active and healthy community in line with achieving the Saudi Vision 2030. In addition to reflecting SFA’s dedication to improving the physical fitness of society by developing initiatives that promote physical activities that are suitable for various conditions.The Saudi Sports for All Federation is working on numerous awareness campaigns to reach all facets of society, including the #MoveYourWorld campaign within the community sports system, to achieve a more healthy and energetic life, where contemporary virtual reality technologies are employed to offer appropriate alternatives to physical activity, to increase participation rate and social interaction in various conditions and atmospheres on a regular basis. As well as increasing the percentage of physical activity levels among the various social groups to make them more receptive to engaging with the objectives of community sports. The SFA encourages the community to move through experiencing an exciting digital experience that takes the user around the museum of extinct mobility. In addition to a series of weekly challenges on the SFA mobile application.The Saudi Sports for All Federation works together with several specialized agencies in the public and private sectors. This helps to contribute to the success of the initiatives and awareness campaigns it launches.

QIB becomes the official sponsor of Al Rayyan Sports club

Doha, Qatar: Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB) and Al Rayyan Sports Club (SC) have officially entered a three-season sponsorship agreement. As part of this partnership, the jerseys of Al Rayyan Club's first football team will feature QIB's logo for the next three seasons.This partnership is a result of the immense popularity of the Al Rayyan team, making it the 17th sponsor for the season. The team boasts the largest fan base in Qatar.At the 'Plan 76' launch ceremony, Al Rayyan Club announced the signing of 15 sponsors and introduced a strategic alliance with the global company 'DHL'.QIB is the first Islamic bank in Qatar and the second-largest bank in the country. The bank’s services cover various customer segments, meeting all their financial needs, including individuals, large corporations, Small & Medium Enterprises, and government institutions. The Bank is adopting a growth strategy focused on strengthening its position and role as a leading bank in customer service and strong engagement with the local community. QIB’s efforts have been focused on digitizing the banking experience through a customer-centric approach, providing innovative services and features for each customer segment to create a seamless experience in a timely manner.QIB holds a profound commitment to the community, with a special emphasis on the support of sports, recognizing football as the world's foremost sport in uniting people and instilling positive values. The Bank understands the pivotal role sports play in community building and youth development, thus consistently supports various sporting events and initiatives. This sponsorship underscores QIB's recognition of football's unique power to inspire youth, encourage teamwork, and foster a sense of community spirit.Commenting on the sponsorship agreement, Mashaal Abdulaziz Al Derham, Assistant General Manager, Head of Corporate Communications & Quality Assurance at QIB, stated: "We are pleased to be the official sponsor of Al Rayyan Sports Club for the upcoming three sporting seasons. We extend our best wishes to the club as they advance to the next level. The Bank reaffirms its strong commitment to social responsibility and its efforts to give back to society by providing continuous support. QIB remains dedicated to partnering with and supporting local sports organizations, events, and clubs as part of our broader mission to support Qatar's sports industry, contribute to its social and economic development, and uphold the goals of Qatar National Vision 2030.""Furthermore, QIB's sponsorship is an extension of its ongoing efforts to promote a healthy lifestyle among its community members. The bank actively encourages participation in sports as a means to cultivate wellness, resilience, and a balanced way of life. This is especially pertinent in today’s fast-paced world, where health and well-being have taken center stage. Our initiatives aim to inspire individuals to take an active role in their physical health, which, in turn, contributes to positive mental and social well-being," Al Derham concluded.Eng. Mohammed Al Atwan, General Supervisor of Al Rayyan Sports Club, expressed his delight upon signing a sponsorship agreement with QIB, Qatar’s largest private sector bank. He commended the bank's choice to support Al Rayyan Club and expressed hope for a long-lasting collaboration. He also encouraged other prominent companies in the country to follow the bank’s example in sponsoring sports clubs in Qatar.He added, "This marks the 17th agreement for Al Rayyan Club this season, a remarkable number, with the club successfully securing sponsorships from 17 companies within a single season. This highlights the club's ability to gain the trust of both national and international firms, along with its extensive fan base. Throughout this season, Al Rayyan Club has emerged as a focal point for numerous national and international companies, and these agreements are a testament to the remarkable efforts undertaken by the Public Relations and Marketing Department at Al Rayyan Club in the preceding stage."He also stated, “This agreement will significantly contribute to the team's progress in the coming seasons and will benefit both parties."

Integrated Gas Company unveils its brand identity

Muscat – Integrated Gas Company SAOC (IGC), a state-owned company, unveiled its new brand identity as the cornerstone of the Government of Oman in managing the gas value chain as well as leading Oman towards energy sustainability and net-zero ambitions. IGC is mandated to manage allocations, assets, rights and obligations as well as purchase, sale, transportation, import, and export of natural gas and its related products. This new identity, unveiled by the Board of Directors of the Company is a significant milestone marking a new era in the Sultanate’s energy landscape, emphasising collaboration, efficiency, and sustainability.As IGC is associated as an aggregator for identifying potential opportunities to derive maximum value and create impactful outcomes, its brand identity is founded on the core idea of collaboration and value creation and serves as a testament to Oman's rich heritage and its progressive vision for the future.The new identity predominantly symbolizes IGC's commitment to fostering ambitious relationships and honouring the country's legacy while embracing a modern, dynamic future aligned with Oman Vision 2040.Musallam Qatan, Chairman of the Board of Directors of IGC said, "In unveiling our new brand, we embark on a transformative journey that symbolizes a profound evolution of our company's essence. We believe in a future where innovation knows no bounds, and inclusivity is our guiding light. Our brand launch is a testament to our unwavering commitment to progress, diversity, and excellence." Speaking on the occasion, Sultan Al Burtumani, Chief Executive Officer - said, "We are thrilled to unveil Integrated Gas Company's distinctive brand identity, which symbolizes not only our commitment to collaboration, efficiency, and delivering sustainable energy but also our deep respect for Oman's rich heritage. As we embark on this transformative journey, our brand stands as a beacon of unity, echoing the values that Oman holds dear – respect, harmony, and progress. With this dynamic identity, we embrace our responsibility to drive Oman's energy transition, ushering in a future that is not only environmentally sustainable but also economically vibrant”.An integral element of the identity, the logo is a modern interpretation of the word "Oman”. It embodies the nation's deep-rooted values of respect, alliance, and unity. IGC aims to enhance collaboration, create efficiencies, and boost economic results within the gas sector.

Multiply Group Announces 337% YoY Increase in Net Profit

Abu Dhabi: Multiply Group (ADX: MULTIPLY), a leading Abu Dhabi-based investment holding firm, today announced a net profit excluding fair value changes of AED 331 million for Q3 2023. This marks a significant 337% increase from AED 76 million reported in the same quarter of 2022. In Q3, 2023, the Group’s net profit, including fair value changes in investments, stands at AED 145.77 million. The Group's Q3 2023 revenue of AED 351.8 million is a 23.82% YoY growth driven by the organic growth across its 4 core verticals (+9% YoY) and the consolidation of Media 247 and LVL effective 1 July 2023. The gross profit margin rose to 50.1%, reflecting an improvement of 128 basis points from Q3 2022. This growth was bolstered by dividend income amounting to AED 194.37 million from the Group’s public portfolio and an increased share of profit to reflect the change in the functional currency of the Turkish JV Kalyon from Turkish Lira to USD.In the first nine months of 2023, the Group’s year to date net profit excluding fair value changes rose to AED 811.17 million, a 199% YoY growth. Multiply Group remains poised to capitalize on emerging value-accretive acquisition opportunities worldwide, spanning its operating verticals and investment arm. The Group boats a robust cash position of AED 1.65 billion, favourable debt-to-equity and debt-to-assets ratios, and access to over AED 4 billion in financing capacity. With its dual investment arms, Multiply and Multiply+, the Group continues to demonstrate its financial prowess, targeting lucrative opportunities across a spectrum of asset classes. Multiply’s current investment verticals encompass Mobility, Energy and Utilities, Media and Communications, and Beauty and Wellness. Meanwhile, Multiply+ remains sector-agnostic, aiming for double-digit returns across asset classes. Under Multiply+, the public market portfolio is currently valued at AED 33.28 billion, compared to an initial investment of AED 15.43 billion.On the sustainability front, Sustainalytics, a global leader in environmental, social and governance (ESG) rating and research, has rated Multiply Group’s risk level at 15.8. This commendable rating places the Group in the “Low Risk” category, positioning it among the top 10% of companies in the Diversified Financials sector. This is a testament to our commitment to sustainability. Q3 2023 Group Highlights:Key InvestmentsMultiply Group successfully acquired a 55% majority stake in Media 247, a leading UAE outdoor advertising firm, at an investment of AED 225 million. Media 247, known for its extensive portfolio of over 45 exclusive outdoor premium hoardings, unipoles, and 3D structures across Dubai’s most prominent locations, solidifies Multiply Group’s position in the media vertical. In H1 2023, Media 247 overachieved both revenue and profitability targets, highlighting its strong financial capabilities. In a move to bolster its footprint in the wellness domain, MG Wellness Holding LLC, the wellness-centric subsidiary of Multiply Group, secured a 49.38% equity interest in LVL Technology Holding in August. LVL Technology Holding is renowned for its LVL Wellbeing platform, which offers a comprehensive suite of individual, team, and corporate well-being solutions, championing a balanced work-life dynamic. This strategic investment is poised to amplify operations and bolster regional expansion. Furthermore, the integration of HealthierU into the LVL Wellbeing platform has created a holistic offering, positing it as the region’s premier source for preventative health and wellbeing services for its clientele.Under Multiply+ arm, Multiply Group invested AED 367 million for a minority stake in EIG’s Breakwater Energy which owns 25% interest in Repsol E&P, a North American-based gas-weighted exploration and production company. Through this acquisition, Multiply+ taps into a highly profitable and cash generative, diversified global upstream portfolio offering a highly attractive dividend profile.Subsidiary MilestonesEmirates Driving Company (EDC) registered a 14.15% net profit increase YoY driven by favourable revenue mix and higher interest income versus last year. In line with the expansion strategy into new markets, EDC’s board approved the investment in the Consultants Driving School in KSA by signing a convertible notes agreement with a total value of SAR 10 million. Further details to be disclosed subject to financial and legal approvals. Furthermore, the company achieved the ISO 31000 certificate for its risk management system and the company hosted the 11th National Dialogue for Climate Ambition in partnership with the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE). Omorfia Group, Multiply Group’s Wellness & Beauty vertical, reported a 22.18% net profit growth YoY driven by gross margin expansion on favourable revenue mix and a spike in interest income. The company expanded its flagship brand, Tips & Toes, by inaugurating two new branches in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. With a network of 40 branches across the UAE and Saudi Arabia, Tips & Toes is positioned as the region’s largest and most successful salon and spa chain. Additionally, Bedashing Beauty Lounge, with its 23 branches, was celebrated as the UAE’s favourite beauty salon in the FACT Spa & Wellness Awards 2023, continuing its expansion and enhancing its comprehensive beauty services across the country.Pal Cooling Holding (PCH), a leader in the UAE’s district cooling industry, reported a flat YoY profit growth as the double-digit growth in revenue on new connections was countered by higher finance costs and additional expenses related to the commissioning of the first phase of Tamouh  district cooling plant’s expansion (additional capacity of 5,000 RT). During the quarter, PCH successfully connected the new Nord Anglia School in Reem Island, with a 1,250 RT cooling load requirement, to its Tamouh district cooling plant. With the impending second phase due for completion this year, the plant’s total installed capacity will reach 75,000 RT. Moreover, PCH’s upcoming Danat district cooling plant will feature a design capacity of 37,500 RT, elevating PCH’s total design capacity to a staggering 257,000 RT, with an installed capacity of 183,000 RT, across its seven plants. Viola Communications, a fully-integrated marketing and communications solutions provider, reported a 84% net profit growth YoY led by significant increase in agency services revenues and higher occupancy of Out-Of-Home (OOH) media assets. The company marked its presence among the top 100 event organizers and agencies in 2023 on the prestigious Eventex index, becoming the only UAE agency to earn this distinction. The agency cinched five awards for its campaign for Abu Dhabi Department of Community Development’s Abu Dhabi Moments, an integrated initiative designed to help foster a sense of belonging amongst communities. Furthermore, Viola Communications secured nominations for the MENA Digital Awards in the “Best Integrated Digital Campaign” and “Best Use of Social Media” categories. In a strategic partnership with Atlantis Dubai, LVL Wellbeing is set to offer guests an immersive wellness experience. Whether guests seek relaxation, workouts, or sound healing, they can now access exclusive content through in-room TVs and the state-of-the-art digital wellbeing studio at Atlantis Dubai’s AWAKEN Spa. This initiative complements the AWAKEN Wellness programme, marking a first for Dubai's hospitality sector.Corporate Social ResponsibilityAs part of its "Cleaning up the Oceans" initiative, Multiply Group made a significant environmental impact by extracting 30,000 pounds of plastic waste from the world’s oceans during the Year of Sustainability. This initiative not only supports the global ocean and coastline clean-up efforts but also aligns with the objectives of the upcoming COP28 environmental summit. In partnership with US-based 4ocean, the Group is ambitiously targeting the offset of more than 100,000 pounds of plastic waste by the close of 2023. Multiply Group concluded the final phase of its comprehensive corporate wellness program, spanning six months. This initiative has been instrumental in mitigating chronic diseases among high-risk employees within the Group. The program’s holistic approach included personalised nutritional sessions, doctor consultations, fitness challenges, biometric screenings, blood tests, and a series of well-being webinars, ensuring the overall health and well-being of its workforce.In a bid to foster knowledge and literacy, Multiply Group undertook a significant book collection drive. Thanks to the generous contributions from its employees, a substantial collection of books was donated to one of the UAE's authorised cultural foundations, furthering the cause of education and reading.Earlier this year, Multiply Group extended its support to the Logos Hope ship mission during its stopover at the Abu Dhabi port. Recognised as the world's largest floating book fair, the Logos Hope mission embodies the noble cause of disseminating knowledge, providing assistance, and instilling hope globally.

Majeed Al Abduljabbar appointed as the CEO of SRERC

Riyadh: The Board of Directors of the Saudi Real Estate Refinance Company (SRC), wholly owned by the PIF and headed by His Excellency the Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing, Mr. Majed bin Abdullah Al-Hogail, announced today that Mr. Majeed Al Abduljabbar will assume the role of Chief Executive Officer, effective January 1, 2024 to succeed former CEO, Mr. Fabrice Susini after obtaining clearance from Saudi Central Bank.Al Abduljabbar is considered one of the leading executives within the Kingdom based on his extensive professional career of 26 years within the public and private sector of the financial and banking industry.The company’s Board of Directors expressed their gratitude to the former CEO, Mr. Fabrice Susini, for his extensive efforts over the years in strengthening the company’s position in the real estate finance sector in the Kingdom. He also supported the development of a management team that possesses the best international practices in this field, and contributed to the company’s achievements during his tenure.It is noteworthy that the new CEO of SRC, Majeed Al Abduljabbar, held various positions during his career; most notably, he was serving as the Director of Risks at the Capital Markets Authority (CMA), and as a senior advisor to the Chairman of the Board for the Capital Market Authority, during which he worked on a number of initiatives within the Authority’s plan and strategy in line with the objectives of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.Al Abduljabbar was also part of the team that supervised Aramco’s public offering in the Saudi market. He also represented the Kingdom in several committees at the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO).His professional journey included working in the banking sector for more than 15 years with local banks, including the treasury department at HSBC Bank in London, Samba, and Arab National Bank, also he contributed to establishing the Department of Innovative Investment Solutions at SABB (now SAB).The Saudi Real Estate Refinance Company (SRC) was established in 2017 with the aim of helping transform the local housing market. SRC obtained a license from the Saudi Central Bank to operate in real estate refinancing through the secondary market.

Action-Packed 'Ganapath' Fails to Light Up the Screen

Just when you thought it couldn't get worse than Heropanti 2 (2022), TIger Shroff unleashes this futuristic action drama, which sadly gets nothing right!! Neither the supposed 2070 era with its awful VFX and unimaginative landscape nor the WWE style action sequences which get plain monotonous after a point. Indeed, Ganapath turns out to be a torturous outing at the end of its two hours fifteen minutes runtime. Tiger Shroff, the sole reason I went in for the near empty morning show at Mahim's Citylight Cinema, is repeating himself in every movie. No doubt, he is sincere, he dances good, he kicks hard but all his films since Baaghi 3 (2020) haven't worked at the box office. It's a clear indication that the dude needs to reinvent himself fast. Being a Jaggu Dada fan, my best wishes always with his cub!! As for Ganapath, the dystopian world it attempts to create, where the rich oppress the poor and the common thread of WWE kinda matches between them, generates zero connect with the audience. The love angle also fails badly as there is hardly any chemistry between Tiger and Kriti here, though they always made a great pair right since their Heropanti (2014) days. The director is to be blamed!! Vikas Bahl has had a mixed filmography so far. For every Queen (2013) and Super 30 (2019), he has followed up with a disappointing Shaandaar (2015) and Goodbye (2022). With Ganapath, the director touches an abysmal low failing in every department from its music to VFX to action. Worse, he wastes the God of Bollywood Amitabh Bachchan in a totally thankless role making you cry sacrilege!! The focus in Ganapath is purely on the free style wrestling bouts, which were comparably far better executed in Bollywood from Main Intaquam Loonga (1982) and Boxer (1984) right until the Salman Khan starrer Sultan (2016). In fact, the film's second half appears like a WWE tournament playing in a loop. Phew!! Undoubtedly, Ganapath would qualify as one of the worst I have endured this year. Let's see if Bollywood offers us a bigger bomb. After all, we still have two more months to go!! Ratings on some key aspects* : 1. Acting : 2/5 2. Direction : 1/53. Music : 1.5/5 4. Story, Screenplay and Dialogue : 1/55. Cinematography : 2/56. Editing : 3/5 7. Costume Design : 2/58. Special Effects and VFX : 1/59. Action : 1.5/510. Production Quality : 1.5/5 #SNRating for #Ganapath : 1 star out of 5. - Sumeet Nadkarni Liked the review? Click on the link below and like the #SNRatings page to subscribe to honest and unbiased reviews of all latest movies : You can also follow us on Twitter handle : @sumu76in * - The overall film rating is not a simple average of all ratings on key aspects but a weighted average of the ratings where some crucial aspects (like direction, acting, story and screenplay etc) are assigned more weightage than others. #Ganapath #ActionDrama #HindiMovie #BollywoodFilm #TigerShroff #KritiSanon #VikasBahl #AmitabhBachchan #BollywoodReview #Filmreview #TheatricalRelease #OTTRelease #Netflix #SNRatings #SNRatings barometer:1 star = Poor1 & 1/2 star = Below average/ Avoidable2 stars = Average2 & 1/2 stars = Above average/ Risk it3 stars = Good enough/ Endurable3 & 1/2 stars = Definitely worth a watch4 stars = Very good5 stars = Masterpiece/ Outstanding. 2023 SNRatings.

Experts Rethink the enterprise in the Era of Rapid Digitalisation: Gitex Global

The 43rd edition of GITEX GLOBAL took place from October 16-20, 2023, the blockbuster tech showpiece once again reaching full capacity at the Dubai World Trade Centre as it hosted more than 6,000 exhibitors. GITEX GLOBAL and Expand North Star (which took place at Dubai Harbour, from October 15-20) comprised a combined 41 halls spanning 2.7 million sq. ft of exhibition space, a 40% growth year-on-year with 1,800 startups across both shows. The events converged the best minds and most visionary companies to scrutinise, challenge, define, and empower the digital agendas of the world.Data Centres, the Lifeblood of the Digital EraA report released during GITEX GLOBAL 2023 by Khazna Data Centres explored the growing demand for data centres due to the increasing importance of digitalisation for business success.The report found that 89% of business leaders believe digitalisation will be critical to business success, triggering a reassessment of data center requirements. Consequently, 45% of large and extra-large organizations reported that they are looking to expand their IT footprint to achieve greater flexibility, while around 36% aspire for greater levels of digital innovation, and approximately 36% hope to improve their customer experience.Hassan Alnaqbi, CEO of Khazna Data Centers, noted that the digital revolution has underlined the central role of digital strategies. He added that as the demand for robust digital infrastructure continues to grow, data centers are emerging as an essential cornerstone.New Data Exchange Platform to Streamline Data-Driven DecisionsModern enterprises and government institutions rely on data for decision-making. However, they face data challenges such as data silos, privacy issues, and cross-border data exchanges. To overcome these challenges, Mercedes-Benz has launched Acentrik, a data exchange platform that enables secure and compliant data ecosystem building. Mercedes-Benz announced at GITEX GLOBAL that Acentrik is now available in the UAE after success in the EU and APAC markets.Acentrik offers various opportunities for collaboration, data transfer, and monetisation, among different entities. Its unique feature is its compute-to-data approach with edge computing capabilities. This allows secure and private computation of data without moving the raw data. Acentrik brings algorithms to the data instead of the other way around.According to Jochen Kaiser, Head of Data Ecosystems at Mercedes-Benz Group AG, Acentrik heralds a new future for data sharing and ecosystems. He said that access is essential for organisations' data-driven decisions and strategies.Laying the Building Blocks for the City of the FutureGITEX GLOBAL hosted an exciting discussion on the digital city of the future, during which experts calculated what the world and cities would look like in 2050. They asserted that the 'city of the future' would be an interconnected matrix of information, data, and technology that will continue to revolutionize how we live, work, and play.While opportunities abound, they also cautioned about the challenges inherent in building a smart city. Technical obstacles can be overcome with the right technology. However, getting people on board necessitates educating and dramatically shifting the public's attitudes about emerging technology. Given the rapid pace of technological advancements, it's crucial to stay informed about the current state of technology and its future direction, to meet specific needs effectively, they opined.Experts on the panel included David Tan, Assistant Chief Executive Officer, JTC Corporation, Singapore; Anas Naim, Managing Director, Middle East & Turkey, Orange; Daniel Diez, Chief Transformation Officer, Magic Leap, USA; Dr. Muneer Zuhdi, CTO Enterprise MEA, Nokia; Petr Hlavacek, Deputy Mayor, City of Prague, Czech Republic; and Roberto Frongia, Director of Strategy and Operations, TONOMUS Compute, Saudi Arabia.Cybercrime Leaves a Trail of Corporate CarnageGlobal cybercrime damage could rise to $10.5 Trillion annually by 2025. Driving this dangerous trend are the increasing sophistication and scale of cyberattacks, growing reliance on digital technology, and lack of cybersecurity awareness and education. Behind these statistics is a global trail of devastation for individuals, businesses, and governments.Leading public and private CISOs discussed the global nature of cybercrime and the critical need for transnational efforts. They included Ali Abdulla Hassan, Chief of Information Technology, Bahrain; Celia Mantshiyane, Chief Information Security Officer, South Africa; Robin Lennon Bylenga, VP, Information Security Awareness, Education and Communications Lead, DWS Group, United Kingdom; Sanusi Drammeh, Director of Cybersecurity, Gambia; and Solomon Soka, Director General, Information Network Security Administration, Ethiopia.Cyberspace is borderless, so is cybercrime. While each country must adopt its own cyber defence mechanisms based on local conditions, collaboration with local and global communities is paramount. The panellists highlighted the need for cyber diplomacy based on bilateral agreements to share threat intelligence, wherein an incident identified in one country is shared across all. They also recommended continent-wide and even global security operation centres (SOCs), which can go a long way in securing the world and humanity.

Fusion5 selected by ADIB Bank as its media agency

Fusion5, a diversified media solutions agency, has been selected by Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) to be its mainstream media services partner. This partnership between ADIB and Fusion5 is sure to be a momentous milestone in the bank’s commitment to enhancing its brand standing and strengthening its presence in the highly competitive financial services sector. With the partnership, the two companies will work closely together to develop and execute a comprehensive mainstream media strategy that aligns with the bank’s core business objectives.This partnership will play a significant role in driving ADIB’s growth and reaching a wider audience in the UAE and beyond.Inas Abou Salem, Global Head of Marketing Communications & Branding at ADIB, said that the company is looking forward to its partnership with Fusion 5 to expand and grow in the UAE market as well as globally.Johnny Khazzoum, Managing Partner at Fusion5, said: “We are honored to have been chosen by ADIB as a key partner in their drive for growth."