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Google Contributed Billions To The Middle East Economy In 2021

Google contributed over $3 billion to the economy in both the UAE and Saudi Arabia in 2021 alone.

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google contributed billions of dollars to the middle east economy in 2021

For better or worse, Google is at the heart of the modern internet. Services like Google Search, Gmail, YouTube, Google Maps, and Google Drive are used by billions of people around the world, helping them find useful information, establish an online presence, and accomplish their goals, among many other things.

Interested to see how much value it contributes to the Middle East economy, the tech giant commissioned independent consultancy Public First to explore how Google’s products helped people, businesses, and workers, and the findings are astonishing: Google contributed over $3 billion to the economy in both the UAE and Saudi Arabia in 2021 alone.

To be more precise, Google helped support an estimated 12.2 billion SAR (or $3.25 billion) in economic activity in Saudi Arabia and AED 11.3 billion (or $3.08 billion) in the UAE.

In both countries, e-commerce played a vital role in Google’s contributions. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, people across the Middle East were fairly reluctant to shop online. Since the first wave of pandemic lockdowns restricted access to physical stores, e-commerce penetration more than doubled both in Saudi Arabia (from 5% to 10%) and the UAE (from 5.6% to 12.1%).

Other drivers of Google’s contributions include the company’s huge developer ecosystem or the various content creators it helped propel to stardom, such as the Iraqi creator known as Chef Shaheen, whose YouTube channel has around 2.4 million subscribers.

Also Read: How To Find Remote-Only Tech Jobs In 2023

“We see from the numbers that the content creator economy is growing massively…same thing for developers,” says Anthony Nakache, Google’s Managing Director in the Middle East and North Africa. “All signs are showing that there is a growth in the [digital] economy — all components are actually growing.”

On the flip side, any economy that becomes largely dependent on a single company can find itself in an unpleasant situation if the company stops being able to deliver its services, just like when the massive Facebook outage shook the internet in 2021.

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Binance Receives Virtual Assets License To Operate In Dubai

As its user base nears 200 million, CEO Richard Teng believes crypto adoption will soar over the next half of the decade.

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binance receives virtual assets license to operate in dubai

Global crypto exchange Binance has been granted a full operational license in Dubai, in a move that’s expected to accelerate digital asset adoption and strengthen the UAE’s regulatory landscape.

The virtual asset service provider license (VASP) was granted by the Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) and will allow Binance to extend its current range of services to retail investors, the company announced yesterday.

The move by Dubai authorities will be critical to Binance’s strategy of growing its user base globally. The crypto exchange expects to pass the 200 million user mark “quite shortly”, according to Richard Teng, the company’s CEO.

Once that milestone is achieved, Binance will have around twice as many users as rival platform Coinbase. Meanwhile, Crypto.com, another popular exchange with 80 million users, received a Dubai VASP license last week.

“We’re seeing much greater institutional adoption and institutional money coming into this space [along with] much greater regulatory clarity and a lot more jurisdictions approving [digital asset] products that bring in new investor classes,” Binance’s Richard Tang explained, adding: “As of now, we stand at about 5% crypto adoption globally, but that will become much faster moving forward”.

Also Read: Microsoft Invests $1.5 Billion In Abu Dhabi AI Tech Firm G42

Dubai and the UAE are extremely supportive of technologies like digital assets, and have already launched initiatives to boost adoption. The UAE has ambitious plans to become a world leader in the crypto economy of the future, with Dubai in particular being noteworthy for passing a new law to regulate virtual assets to support investors and exchanges.

“Global crypto regulation is currently showing diverging signs. Some developed countries have long suffered from crypto-related frauds and illegal exchanges. On the other hand, emerging nations like the UAE and Singapore have enacted crypto laws at faced pace,” said Vijay Valecha, chief investment officer of Dubai-based Century Financial.

As the UAE gears up to become one of the fastest-growing crypto capitals worldwide, investors and talent are flocking to places like Dubai. During 2023, the Emirates as a whole realized $204 million in capital gains from cryptocurrency investments, according to blockchain data analysts Chainalysis.

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