Apple has launched a new all-Arabic App Store to developers and members of its Beta Software Program.
These users will put the new App Store through its paces before it opens more widely to customers in September with iOS 13. The new store should help Apple grow in the fast-developing Middle East market.
Sam Blatteis, CEO of The MENA Catalysts, a government relations firm in the Persian Gulf area, said the Middle East represents a great untapped market for Apple.
â€œ[Appleâ€™s] move happens in the context of the app industry being one of the few booming non-oil growth sectors,â€ Blatteis told The Media Line.
Blatteis said the Middle Eastâ€™s population is roughly comparable to that of the United States. However, its approximately 330 million people skew younger. People under the age of 35 make up about two-thirds of the population. â€œThey have more of a proclivity toward tech adoption than other age demographics,â€ he said.
There are challenges, though. At present, around half of the Middle Eastern population is not online. But this is starting to change. As a result, it makes sense for companies to make sure the necessary infrastructure is in place. Localized content can help people make the decision to go online.
Appleâ€™s push into the Arab world
Apple opened its first stores in the Arab world â€” two high-end luxury malls in Dubaiâ€™s Mall of the Emirates and Abu Dhabiâ€™s Yas Mall â€”Â in 2015. This happened after Apple received the necessary permits to open stores in the region. Normally any business operating in the United Arab Emirates must be majority owned by Emiratis.
Since then, Apple continues to focus on the region. Apple Pay launched in the United Arab Emirates in October 2017Â and Saudi Arabia in February 2015.
While the number of Arabic-specific apps remains relatively small, it continues to grow. No doubt an all-Arabic App Store will help in this mission.
Source: Jerusalem Post