Instagram’s long awaited short-form video-sharing feature, Instagram Reels, has finally started rolling out in the Middle East. During Instagram’s previous “House of Instagram” event, the company announced that Reels would be a brand-new way for content creators and businesses in the MENA region to create and discover short and entertaining videos. The announcement of Reels comes just days after Instagram released Instagram Music in the Middle East.
Reels allows users to take and edit multi-clip videos up to 30 seconds long, with the ability to add effects and other new tools dedicated to this feature. Once taken, users can share Reels with their followers (for private accounts) and potentially with the entire Instagram community (your account will need to be set to public).
If you have the latest version of Instagram installed on your smartphone, you should see the Reels icon in the bottom center of the app’s homepage.
“Self-expression and versatility are part of the creative DNA of the region’s Gen Z and millennial population. As one of the primary platforms for this group of creators, we have always sought to adapt our features to what they need. With Reels, they now have more leverage when it comes to creating and sharing short-form content. Reels provides our community with greater freedom and flexibility to innovate, experiment and elevate their content, and we cannot wait to discover a new generation of talent via the feature.” said Samer Jamal, strategic partner manager at Instagram MENA.
Instagram isn’t the only company to explore this type of short-form content. Last September, YouTube announced a similar feature called “Shorts” which gives creators the ability to capture short and catchy videos straight from their smartphone.
Stripe Enters The Middle East With Its UAE Launch
Stripe will initially only be available to UAE businesses, allowing them to accept online payments, make payouts, mitigate fraud, and attract customers from around the world.
Stripe, a provider of online payment processing for internet business, has finally expanded to the Middle East with its official launch in the United Arab Emirates. The Irish-American company also opened an office in Dubai Internet City, allowing it to be closer to its new customer base.
At first, Stripe will only be available to UAE businesses, allowing them to accept online payments, make payouts, mitigate fraud, and attract customers from around the world.
“The UAE is a thriving hub for technology, supported by strong investor appetite, internet-savvy consumers, and an open, innovative ecosystem of business leaders and entrepreneurs,” said Matt Henderson, EMEA Business Lead at Stripe. “Our launch today also means we can now connect our global user base to the Gulf, enabling them to seamlessly expand their operations in the region.”
Stripe’s entry into the Middle East market comes just weeks after its latest round of funding, which has resulted in the company’s value jumping up to $95 billion and making it one of the most valuable fintech companies in the world.
The UAE is the perfect entry point for the online payment processing provider because the total value of digital payment transactions in the gulf country has doubled in the last two years alone, reaching $18.5 billion in 2020. If the UAE remains on the current growth trajectory, its e-commerce sector is expected to add nearly another $10 billion over the next two years.
Another factor that makes the UAE such an ideal expansion point is the fact that accepting online payments in the country has historically been incredibly challenging. Stripe provides a straightforward setup process and developer-friendly APIs, making it easy for companies of all sizes to improve their online presence.
Last year, Stripe launched in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Malta. The company also expanded into Africa via Nigeria technology startup Paystack. In total, Stripe currently processes hundreds of billions of dollars each year.