Monthly Archives: September 2012

59% of Emirati Twitter users are women

By Noor Nazzal. Special to Gulf News
Published: 21:28 September 9, 2012

Twitter users attending the first Emirati Tweeps Gathering organised by Al Mezmah Centre for Research and Studies with the support of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority.

Dubai: Females lead males by 59 per cent to 41 per cent when it comes to Emiratis using the twitter social network, according to an independent study.

The study, which set out to understand more about the demographic factors and aims of Emirati Twitter users, involved 854 participants.

The study was conducted by Ahmad Al Mansour, an Emirati journalist working with an Arabic daily in Dubai who presented his findings at the first ever Emirati ‘Tweeps gathering’.

The event which was organised by Al Mezmah Centre for Research and Studies with the support of The Dubai Culture and Arts Authority drew around 100 Emiratis to the Dubai Public Library (Al Twar branch) last Thursday. The event provided a platform for Emirati twitter users to meet each other in person for the very first time,

ROXY MUSIC The Roxy Music Story

The Ten Most Innovative Companies In Africa


FORBES recently published its annual list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies. For some reason, Africa was not represented on the list. So when FORBES writerSamantha Sharf did a story on theTen Most Innovative Companies In America, I decided to make a list of Africa’s most innovative companies.

Admittedly, this is a subjective list, but I believe it to be quite accurate. Here are ten truly African companies, all leading in industries ranging from media and telecommunications to retail and restaurants and food & beverages. These ten companies continually reinvent themselves, setting industry standards and radically changing their sectors. These companies create, then recreate, then innovate. They exploit new ideas, products and services to produce dynamic and lucrative new businesses.


Without further ado, I present to you my personal Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Africa:


Industry: Telecommunications

East Africa’s largest mobile telecommunications provider easily ranks as the most innovative company in sub-Saharan Africa. Reason: M-Pesa, Africa’s first SMS-based money transfer service. In 2007, Safaricom launched M-Pesa (M for mobile and Pesa- a Swahili word for money) which lets users deposit, transfer and withdraw funds via text message. A subscriber who wants to send money across simply visits a registered M-Pesa agent with the money and the phone number of the recipient. For a fee of a little over $1, the agent sets up a virtual account for the subscriber, credits the account with the money, and then sends the amount to the recipient’s account. A subscriber can send money even to a recipient on a different mobile network, who can cash it at any M-Pesa agent simply by presenting an ID and entering a secret code. Safaricom also pioneered a service which offers subscribers airtime on credit, introduced the payment of utility bills through the M-Pesa platform and also runs a robust customer loyalty award programe.

Nando’s, South Africa

Industry: Food & Beverages

Since opening its first restaurant in 1987, Nandos has expanded to over a thousand locations in 30 countries on five continents. Its success secrets may well lie in its marketing: Nando’s’ numerous provocative yet witty commercials, such as an ad featuring a dimwitted busty blonde and another which depicted Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe reflecting on happy moments he enjoyed with fallen dictators such as Colonel Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein have made Nando’s’ flagship flame-grilled Peri-Peri chicken a hit among Africa’s  young and hip. Nando’s meals are premised on traditional Mozambiquan-Portuguese dietary patterns and spices such as the ‘Pili Pili’. The company also manufactures a range of sauces which are sold in Nando’s restaurants and in supermarkets.

In 2010, Advertising Age magazine named Nando’s as one of the world’s top 30 hottest marketing brands. Nando’s also promises to allow anyone to eat free for life if they can prove they have been to all the Nando’s restaurants.

Nation Media Group, Kenya

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U.S. ranks second in Hispanic population worldwide as of 2010 (50.5 million). Mexico ranks first with 112 million in Hispanic population.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau., August 2012

Colombia Now South America’s No. 2 Economy

September 2012

BOGOTA – Colombia has moved ahead of Argentina to become South America’s second-largest economy, the outgoing Colombian finance minister said Friday.

“Colombia surpassed Argentina in GDP, we are the second economy in South America after Brazil and the third in size (in Latin America) after Brazil and Mexico,” Juan Carlos Echeverry told Caracol Radio.
After pulling ahead of oil-rich Venezuela in the first two years of President Juan Manuel Santos’ administration, “now we pass the Argentine economy,” Echeverry said.

“Colombia is moving forward with a lot of impetus. We are doing things right and advancing,” he added, expressing confidence that the success will continue under the man replacing him in the finance post, current Mines and Energy Minister Mauricio Cardenas.

Colombia will end 2012 with a gross domestic product of $362 billion, compared with projected Argentine GDP of $347 billion, Echeverry said in an interview with the online edition of Bogota daily El Tiempo.

Echeverry, an economist by training, is leaving the Colombian government to seek a high-level post with the International Monetary Fund. EFE

Age, Interests Dictate Social Networks Used

Digital Intellegence
September 5, 2012

Younger users are more active on YouTube and Instagram; all ages are on Facebook

Social network users overall skew young, but when looking at specific sites, differences emerge between age groups.

In June 2012, Pingdom analyzed DoubleClick data and found that 26% of US social network users were between the ages of 25 and 34, with another 25% between the ages of 35 and 44. Users ages 18 to 24 made up 16% of all US social network users. This study looked at users of a variety of sites, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, Reddit, StumbleUpon, deviantART and Goodreads.

US Social Network Users, by Age, June 2012 (% of total)

Another study, from the Association of Magazine Media (MPA) in April 2012, broke down social network user distribution not only by age, but also by specific social media sites used. The MPA surveyed US magazine readers who used social media and found that younger respondents were more likely to use certain sites, particularly those with a photo or video focus. Users ages 18 to 24 were more likely than their 25- to 34-year-old counterparts to use YouTube (73% compared to 57%), Twitter (45% to 38%), Instagram (17% to 10%) and Tumblr (15% to 7%). Older respondents were more likely to use LinkedIn, unsurprisingly, while the number of users on Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest was about even between the groups. (more…)

Gangnam Style, Dissected: The Subversive Message Within South Korea’s Music Video Sensation

The Atlantic Home
August  2012

Beneath the catchy dance beat and hilarious scenes of Seoul’s poshest neighborhood, there might be a subtle message about wealth, class, and value in South Korean society.


Park Jaesang is an unlikely poster boy for South Korea’s youth-obsessed, highly lucrative, and famously vacuous pop music. Park, who performs as Psy (short for psycho), is a relatively ancient 34, has been busted for marijuana and for avoiding the country’s mandatory military service, and is not particularly good-looking. His first album got him fined for “inappropriate content” and the second was banned. He’s mainstream in the way that South Korea’s monolithically corporate media demands of its stars, who typically appear regularly on TV variety and even game shows, but as a harlequin, a performer known for his parodies, outrageous costumes, and jokey concerts. Still, there’s a long history of fools and court jesters as society’s most cutting social critics, and he might be one of them.

Now, Park has succeeded where the K-Pop entertainment-industrial-complex and its superstars have failed so many times before: he’s made it in America. The opening track on his sixth album, “Gangnam Style” (watch it at right), has earned 49 million hits on YouTube since its mid-July release, but the viral spread was just the start.

The American rapper T-Pain was retweeted 2,400 times when he wrote “Words cannot even describe how amazing this video is.” Pop stars expressed admiration. Billboard is extolling his commercial viability; Justin Bieber’s manager is allegedly interested. The Wall Street Journal posted “5 Must-See” response videos. On Monday, a worker at L.A.’s Dodger stadium noticed Park in the stands and played “Gangnam Style” over the stadium P.A. system as excited baseball fans spontaneously reproduced Park’s distinct dance in the video. “I have to admit I’ve watched it about 15 times,” said a CNN anchor. “Of course, no one here in the U.S. has any idea what Psy is rapping about.” (more…)

Mexico’s Telecom Industry Grows 13.4% in First Half of ‘12

Aug 29, 2012

MEXICO CITY – Mexico’s telecommunications industry grew 13.4 percent in the first half of 2012, compared to the same period last year, thanks to a strong performance by long-distance telephony, satellite television and mobile telephony, the Federal Telecommunications Commission, or Cofetel, said.
The industry grew much faster during the period than the overall economy, which expanded at a 4.3 percent rate in the January-June period, the Cofetel said.

Incoming long-distance telephone service grew 28.3 percent in the April-June period, marking the fastest growth since 2006 as a result of the strength in the U.S. economy, where 95 percent of incoming calls originate.

Satellite television grew 25 percent in the second quarter, thanks to expanded competition.

Mobile telephony grew 19.5 percent in terms of minutes, reaching 97.6 million subscribers, an increase of 1.98 million subscribers compared to the same period in 2011.

The penetration rate for cell phone service reached 86.9 percent, the Cofetel said.

Broadband service also posted strong growth, with the number of subscribers rising from 5.6 million on June 30, 2011, to 9.7 million as of June 30, 2012, a growth rate of 73.9 percent, the Federal Telecommunications Commission said.

Landline service, however, continues to yield ground to mobile telephony, with the number of fixed lines in service reaching 20.7 million as of June 30, up only 0.7 percent compared to the figure a year earlier.

Cable television operators have been grabbing a bigger share of the landline business by bundling it in packages marketed to customers.

Mexico currently has 17.9 landlines per 100 people.

Joe Kutchera: A New Wave of Digital Entrepreneurs in Latin America

Fox News Latino - Fair & Balanced
By Published August 27, 2012
Fox News Latino

Engel-Fonseca Geoff-Ramsey.jpg

eMarketer projects that between 2012 and 2016, Latin America will be one of the world’s fastest-growing regions for online advertising spending, growing from $3.62 billion in 2012 to $7.68 billion in 2016, a 112 percent increase in just four years.

Yet, legacy monopolies like Televisa, creator of many of the world’s most popular telenovelas along with its competitor TV Azteca, still dominate media spending, where 56 percent of advertising dollars go toward broadcast television while only 10 percent goes toward digital advertising.

Can today’s Spanish-speaking, social media-oriented start-ups break into the big time alongside monopolies to further drive digital growth in Latin America?

Social Media Taking Off

Another recent eMarketer report shows that five of the top 10 countries that spend the most time on social media sites are located in Latin America: Argentina, Chile, Peru, Colombia, and Mexico. In addition, Mexico appears in third place among the top five social networking countries by consumer growth rate, behind India and Indonesia. Even with stratospheric growth in social and mobile media usage, those two categories represent only 6 and 5 percent, respectively, within all digital media spending.

Alejandro Fosk, comScore senior vice president of Latin America, says, “Nearly 100 percent of the Latin American Internet population visits social networking destinations each month.” comScore’s latest research shows that more than 127 million Latin Americans ages 15 and older visited a social networking destination from a home or work computer in April 2012. And Facebook Accounts for one in Every four Minutes Spent Online in Latin America. (more…)

The Ascent Of The Arab Startup

AUGUST 24, 2012

Why the rise–and acquisition–of web portal Maktoob is a model for Arab entrepreneurs.

When I arrived in Dubai in late 2009, Maktoob was all the rage. The Internet portal, founded in Jordan 11 years earlier, had hit the big time with the kind of exit that technology ventures dream of. In August 2009, a couple months before I arrived, Yahoo! had acquired Maktoob for $164 million. The first from an international Internet titan, the acquisition gave entrepreneurs throughout the Arab world a new home-grown model of entrepreneurial success–as well as definitive proof that a startup based in the region could strike it rich.

The growing penetration of Internet and social media throughout the Arab world has opened up rich opportunities for local and multinational companies. While the large U.S. Web portals still dominate traffic numbers in the Arab world, Maktoob had made significant inroads and gave Yahoo! a strong foothold through its English and the Arabic Web sites. Maktoob roughly translates to “a letter” or “a note,” and its ability to help Arabs communicate helped it gain an edge in the region. Around the time of the acquisition, about 90 percent of its content was in Arabic, an executive told me when I visited the company’s offices in Dubai.

But dozens of less successful sites also publish in Arabic. Maktoob’s greater popularity, he said, stemmed from its ability to define and deliver the services its audience craved: news, forums, entertainment, sports, and cultural and religious content. He and another Maktoob manager raved about one of its most popular sites, Al Frasha(“Butterfly”). A Saudi woman initially developed the site as a forum for women to discuss life issues. As a company official told me during a phone conversation, the content on Al Frasha tends to be extremely open and transparent, a release for women living in a culture that can limit their expression. (more…)