Global Marketing News – 10th March 2016
Arabic domains are gateway to Middle East success
A report by ICANN has found that the potential for growth in the Arabic domain name market is huge.
The Arabic-character top-level domain name شبكة. (dot shabaka) was launched in 2014 and has so far been registered just 21,000 times in the region.
The reason for this slow start seems to be due to difficulties in registering the domain, due to a lack of registrars offering the domain, a lack of awareness, and limited payment options.
However, there is not a lack of interest in the domain name from Arabic businesses.
Indeed, the study revealed that the vast majority of respondents preferred to speak and write in Arabic rather than English, and would prefer it if there were more Arabic language websites and domains.
The study predicts that if these challenges can be overcome, it will help to stimulate adoption of the شبكة. (dot shabaka) domain, thereby fostering a more customised, easy and intuitive web experience for Arabic internet users.
In related news, Skype has announced the launch of its real-time translation feature for Arabic. The feature translates spoken Arabic and is the eighth language to be added to Skype’s real-time translation tool.
Tencent rumoured to buy stake in Sohu’s video service
It is rumoured that the Chinese internet giant Tencent is going to buy a stake in its rival Sohu’s online video service.
Tencent is allegedly planning to pay 1 billion US dollars for an unspecified proportion of the video site.
If the deal goes ahead, it won’t be the first time the two companies have crossed paths. In 2013, Tencent bought a 37% stake in Sohu’s search engine Sogou for 450 million US dollars.
The Chinese video market is extremely lucrative, with Youku Tudou, iQiyi and Tmall Box Office being the top 3 market leaders in the country. YouTube is banned in China, and Netflix has so far held back from entering the Chinese market.
Google wants to bring 1 million Thai businesses online in 2016
The new head of Google in Thailand has pledged to bring 1 million small-to-medium sized Thai businesses online by the end of the year.
Small-to-medium sized businesses (SMEs) make up 40% of Thailand’s gross domestic product (GDP), but only around 300,000 SMEs currently have an online presence, making it an area of huge growth potential.
To get more businesses online, Google Thailand has localised 45 of its 55 products, making it easier for Thai business-owners to use them. It has also started promoting its Google My Business and Google advertising services in the country.
Thailand has around 19 million internet users, equivalent to around 29% of the country’s population.
Zalando grew online sales by 36% in 2015
And finally, the European fashion website Zalando saw its online sales grow by 36% last year.
It sold over 3 billion US dollars’ worth of clothes and shoes in 2015, with Germany, Austria and Switzerland being the company’s biggest markets.
Zalando is attributing its success to new features it put on its website in 2015, such as making deliveries and returns faster and easier, and increasing the range of products it sold across its 15 target markets.
Joint promotions with clothing manufacturers also led to a boost in user numbers, with the site having almost 18 million customers by the end of the year.
It also saw an increase in the number of people downloading the Zalando app and visiting the website via a mobile device. Mobile traffic accounted for 57% of all traffic in 2015, up from 42% the previous year.
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