Twitter taking over the Middle East

The information network is growing fast in Saudi Arabia and Turkey, where the highest percentage of Internet users are also Twitter users.

Jennifer Van Grove Former Senior Writer / News
Jennifer Van Grove covered the social beat for CNET. She loves Boo the dog, CrossFit, and eating vegan. Her jokes are often in poor taste, but her articles are not.
Jennifer Van Grove
Twitter may be on its way to striking it rich in the Middle East.

The information networking site has apparently developed an avid following in both Saudi Arabia and Turkey, the two countries that rank highest in terms of active Twitter user penetration, according to data published by GlobalWebIndex and analyzed by eMarketer.

Fifty-one percent of surveyed Internet users in Saudi Arabia and 39 percent of Internet users in Turkey identified themselves as active Twitter users. GlobalWebIndex surveyed more than 152,000 Internet users in 31 markets. An active Twitter user is defined as a person who has used the service in the past month.

A separate report from the Dubai School of Government pegged Twitter's active user base in the Arab world in June 2012 at more than 2 million people. The Western Asia region, however, is one of the fastest-growing areas for Twitter, Shailesh Rao, a vice president of international operations at Twitter, told The National.

The Middle East, which appears to be a hotbed of Twitter activity thanks in part to partnerships with wireless carriers abroad, only recently became a revenue-generating market for the information network. In late January, Twitter announced that it would sell ads in the region with the help of sales partner Connect Ads, an Egyptian advertising agency.

GlobalWebIndex estimates that Twitter closed the fourth quarter of 2012 with 288 million active users worldwide, which is an increase of 39.8 percent over the previous year.