Search portal Yahoo said it has bought maktoob.com, described as the leading online community in the Arab world.
It didn’t say how much it had payed for maktoob.com, which has over 16.5 million users.
Yahoo said that aside from picking up the 16.5 million users, it will allow it to deliver Arabic language content and services and Arabic versions of Yahoo Messenger and Yahoo Mail.
Maktoob.com is used in countries including the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Jordan, Kuwait, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
Yahoo said that Internet usage in the Middle East has grown tenfold since 2000 but most markets are in the early stages of adoption. There are over 320 million Arabic speakers worldwide but less than one percent of online content is in Arabic.
The acquisition is part of a Yahoo strategy to target emerging markets in South East Asia, India, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East. This acquisition will be completed in the fourth quarter of this year.