Is Jordan The Silicon Valley Of The Middle East?

The Information and Communications Technology (ICT) field is an area that is seen as an opportunity in which Jordan can increase its competitive advantage over other countries in the region, consequently Jordan have taken very serious steps in order to launch its major ICT initiatives aiming at developing the ICT sector.

Accordingly, in response to a challenge put forward by his Majesty King Abdullah II in 1999, the efforts were directed at devising a comprehensive framework for Jordan's ICT sector.

The industry now generates an estimated 14 per cent of gross domestic product and employs about 80,000 people directly and indirectly according to an ICT report published by the government. As of 2011 Jordan's IT export revenue was 163,214,504 i.e. 13.97% up from 2010. 

Some of the biggest startups in the region have a base in Jordan. 

MarkaVIP, the online 'flash sales' retailer that was found in 2010 in the region employs 200 people in Jordan among its total work force of 340. Its business model is based exclusive invitation-only sales and discounts that are for a limited period.

The ecommerce portal claims to have 2.7m members. Founded by Jordan entrepreneurs Ahmed Alkhatib (CEO) and Amer Abulaila (CTO) MarkaVIP the company raised $10 million in Series B funding last year. a Yelp hybrid for the Middle East is also based in Jordan. Omar Koudsi, Jeeran’s co-founder had successfully raised funding from 500 Startups.

The Gaming Development industry is huge in Jordan. Regionally the gaming industry is valued at $100 million in revenue. Some of the big names in the development industry are based in Jordan: - 

Quirkat - game development studio recently launched Pro Foosball for the PlayStation 3 and is the first developer in the Middle East so far to be published by Sony.

Beladcom - This company is developing a game called Planet Toulan, that is inspired by Arabian mythology and the One Thousand and One Nights. The company claime to have developed the first ever Arabic 3D Massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG)

Until 4 years ago there were hardly any startups in the country. Things changed around 2009 when, got bought up by Yahoo for an estimated price of $164 million and turned into the Arabic Yahoo. While the King supported the creation of Oasis 500, an incubator and a development fund, his wife Her Majesty Queen Rania launched QREC, a business competition. 

Rachid Sefrioui, the founder of Finaventures, a California-based venture-capital firm has listed Amman as the top 10th city in the world to launch a start-up. 

Jordan’s online businesses also must deal with bureaucracy at home and elsewhere in the region.  There are no bankruptcy laws that make it possible for a businessman to work through financial difficulties with creditors and emerge on the other side, raring to try again. However, as the start-up scene matures thing will get more streamlined and then let the cities in the region battle for the Silicon Valley title.



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    […] could say the same of just about any country on the globe. Investors are bullish about investing in Jordan which is considered the silicon valley of the region, UAE and […]

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