The Harvard Business Review reports that the Middle East could become the next innovation hub for payments and e-commerce. “Changing market dynamics, growth, and opportunity in the Middle East have been in motion well before the Arab Spring”, says Christopher M. Schroeder. “the Arab world has over 320 million people, nearly twice as many as Brazil, with a GDP larger than Russia and India put together, and per capita GDP nearly twice China’s. Disposable income has grown 50 percent over the past three years, to over $1 trillion in 2012. And it’s a young market, with over 100 million people under the age of 15, who love their connectivity and mobile phones. Mobile penetration, in fact, will approach 100 percent in three years and social media penetration just hit 25 percent in 2011, growing 125 percent year over year”
Innovators in the region are trying to get over the logistical and cultural barriers to deliver e-commerce possibilities in a region where people are still scared to pay online. However, the region presents as many opportunities as obstacles, the HBS notes. However, almost 200% mobile phone penetration and a desire from customers to follow the trail of European and American markets, make the Middle East a perfect hub for mobile and payment innovation.