Singapore streaming outfit BIGO targets $500m investment in Saudi Arabia
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Singapore streaming outfit BIGO targets $500m investment in Saudi Arabia

Singapore streaming outfit BIGO targets $500m investment in Saudi Arabia

BIGO has a 5-year plan to launch 500 jobs with an investment of $500m in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Gareth van Zyl
Ian Goh talks during LEAP 2024. (Supplied)

One of Singapore’s fastest-growing technology companies, BIGO, attended LEAP 2024 in Riyadh last week ahead of a plan by the company to plough fresh investment into Saudi Arabia.

BIGO’s AI-powered video-based products and services include the likes of Bigo Live (a live streaming platform) and Likee (a short-form video platform).

Bigo Live is a global live video social platform where users can send virtual gifts in real time and host live streaming sessions with people worldwide. The app is available in more than 150 countries.

Meanwhile, Likee is a global short video creation platform with cutting-edge special effects tools. The app has more than 100 million users, according to BIGO.

READ MORE: Livestreaming app Bigo Live to sponsor Saudi gamers

In terms of its operations, BIGO has 30 offices and 6 research and development (R&D) centres dotted across the globe.

And in this Q&A interview, Ian Goh, a director at BIGO Technology, reveals how the company plans to expand rapidly in the Saudi Arabian market over the next few years.

Why did BIGO choose to participate in LEAP 2024?

We view LEAP 2024 as a prime opportunity to underscore our commitment to Saudi Arabia and engage with key stakeholders in the region’s tech ecosystem. Our decision to join this event (as a Gold sponsor) is driven by our confidence in the Saudi market’s potential and our eagerness to establish strategic partnerships, explore investment avenues, and enhance our presence in the country. LEAP offers us a unique platform to connect with industry leaders, entrepreneurs, and policymakers, allowing us to gain valuable insights into local trends, preferences, and opportunities. Through our participation, we aim to strengthen our relationships in Saudi Arabia, raise awareness of our brand and offerings, and demonstrate our dedication to supporting the country’s digital transformation journey.

Amid Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 agenda, do you have targeted initiatives for the Kingdom?

Our decision to establish a regional headquarters, generate employment opportunities, and invest significantly in Saudi Arabia underscores our commitment to Vision 2030’s goals and our dedication to fostering economic growth, innovation, and social progress in the region. As part of our long-term strategy, we have developed a comprehensive 5-year plan to launch 500 jobs with an investment of $500m in Saudi Arabia. This initiative aims to catalyse the growth of the local tech ecosystem, empower Saudi youth, and create new pathways for employment and entrepreneurship. Furthermore, our investments in the creative sector will not only support economic diversification but also promote cultural exchange and showcase Saudi talent and innovation on a global scale.

How does BIGO distinguish itself from other social media and entertainment platforms in the Middle East market?

BIGO sets itself apart from other social media and entertainment platforms in the Middle East market through its relentless focus on innovation, user-centricity, and social responsibility. Unlike traditional platforms, we continuously push the boundaries of technology to deliver unique and engaging experiences that resonate with our diverse user base. Our AI-driven content recommendation algorithms personalise the user experience, while our interactive features and immersive content formats keep users engaged and entertained. Additionally, we prioritise user safety and well-being, employing robust content moderation systems and community guidelines to create a safe and supportive online environment. Moreover, our commitment to social responsibility distinguishes us from other platforms. We actively engage with local communities, support social impact initiatives, and promote positive digital behaviors, fostering a culture of empathy, respect, and inclusivity on our platforms. By combining cutting-edge technology with a strong sense of social responsibility, we aim to create meaningful connections, inspire creativity, and enrich lives in the Middle East and beyond.

With the advancement of AI technology, what opportunities and challenges do you foresee for BIGO in the Middle East market?

The rapid advancement of AI technology presents both opportunities and challenges for BIGO in the Middle East market. AI offers unprecedented opportunities to enhance user experiences, drive innovation, and unlock new growth avenues across various sectors. For instance, AI-powered content recommendation algorithms can personalise user experiences, AI-driven analytics can provide valuable insights for businesses, and AI-enabled chatbots can streamline customer service interactions. These technologies have the potential to revolutionise how people communicate, consume content, and interact with digital services in the Middle East. However, along with these opportunities come challenges, such as ensuring data privacy and security, addressing ethical considerations, and mitigating potential biases in AI algorithms. Additionally, there is a need to build trust and confidence among users, regulators, and other stakeholders regarding the responsible use of AI technologies. At BIGO, we are committed to proactively and responsibly navigating these challenges by adhering to ethical principles, promoting transparency, and engaging in open dialogue with stakeholders. By leveraging AI technologies responsibly and ethically, we believe we can unlock the full potential of AI to drive positive change and create value for society in the Middle East and beyond.

What does the future hold for BIGO in the Middle East?

At BIGO, we envision ourselves as catalysts for innovation and positive change in the digital entertainment and communication landscape in the Middle East. Our mission is to empower individuals to connect, create, and communicate in meaningful ways, leveraging technology to enrich lives and inspire creativity. We aspire to create a future where our platforms serve as hubs of creativity, cultural exchange, and social interaction, bringing people together across borders and boundaries. To achieve this vision, we continuously innovate and evolve our platforms to meet the evolving needs and preferences of our users. Whether through immersive live streaming experiences, interactive content formats, or AI-driven personalised recommendations, we strive to offer unique and engaging experiences that captivate audiences and foster genuine connections. Moreover, we are committed to driving positive social change through our platforms, promoting inclusivity, diversity, and social responsibility. By shaping the future of digital entertainment and communication in the Middle East, we aim to create a brighter, more connected, and more vibrant world for all.


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