Snap Inc. expands MENA presence with new office in Qatar

You’ve definitely heard of Snapchat, since the app itself started and popularized the ephermal content format and then copied by others.

If the below tweet from Qatar’s Government Communications Office is sendign a message, it’s clear that Snap Inc. is looking to grow beyond just their UAE regional office. An MoU was signed between both parties, looking to officially cement the announcement.

The announcement looks to be part of Snap’s efforts to support and create opportunities for its highly engaged community in Qatar, while also growing their footprint across the MENA region. Let’s not forget working closely with local partners/businesses and numerous influencers, which should play into Qatar’s growing and vibrant digital landscape.

If you want more credibility into the announcement, look no further than the below quote from their GM.

“Snapchat has a highly engaged community in Qatar and we are delighted to announce our expanding presence in MENA with the opening of a new office in Doha, which reflects our support to Qatar’s growing and vibrant digital landscape. This will also allow us to better serve our local community of Snapchatters, creators and businesses, and invest in developer partnerships to create even more opportunities for digital transformation in Qatar.”

Hussein Freijeh, General Manager of SNap Inc. in the Middle East

One thing that sort of caught my eye from the GCO office’s announcement is the following: “The creator economy in Qatar has witnessed a significant growth over the last two years with the discovery of several local creators and Arab expats.”

Snap is building on this progress and sees a clear opportunity to elevate the voices of Qatar’s creator ecosystem, amplify their stories and support their continued innovation.

As much as every other news outlet has covered this announcement – either copy/pasting verbatim the press release, or just covering the light details – on their own sites, I’m seeing a much bigger impact following this announcement.

Going Beyond Qatar for Snap Inc.

In addition to investing in developer partnerships, the Qatar office will help to serve the wider MENA region. Another fun fact: Snapchat’s backend is powered by Google Cloud, which also has a presence here in Qatar with a data centre region.

Their own TikTok-equivalent known as Spotlight should give plenty of creators the opportunity to monetize their content. Let’s not forget about the coveted Discover section, consisted of Originals exclusive to Snapchat (giving media publishers in Qatar a bigger incentive to produce exclusive content for this product, as Al Jazeera Network has done).

IMO, the biggest advantage and USP of Snap Inc. is their mixed AR platform. Hands down, Snapchat has the best AR platform since they really go above and beyond to tap into smartphone hardware.

Just try any face lens and compare it to an equivalent on Spark AR by Meta – you’ll see the difference in terms of the performance and even the accurate detail in facial tracking/mapping and for world projection. Snap has always made the move in implementing new features based on new smartphones as they’re announced, which usually starts with iOS adn then trickles to Android users.

Down the road, I’m expecting all the reports/studies Snap shares (like this one) would also include users in Qatar joining UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt from the MENA region.

At this early stage, Snap Inc. will be hiring a team to hit the ground running for their Qatar office with support from their UAE regional office. Maybe they plan to have it up and running well before the FIFA World Cup to capitalise on the anticipated activity.

I do hope that they’ll also officially sell the Spectacles here in Qatar.

Author: Yasser Masood

Think of me as a grassroots community evangelist. Juggling social media while covering technology/digital trends across the Middle East and crossroads of society and culture, while unearthing other perspectives that pique my interests.

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