BIGO Technology (BIGO), one of the fastest-growing Singapore technology companies, announced that it will be providing assistance to Singapore startups and small-medium enterprises (SMEs) which are looking to expand into the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. BIGO, which first established its MENA hub office in Amman, Jordan in 2019, said that its efforts in empowering SMEs are part of its sustained commitment to developing the technology ecosystem.
BIGO’s initiatives to help Singapore SMEs establish themselves in the Middle East include extending the use of BIGO’s co-working space and facilities in its MENA office for up to half a year, business matchmaking and networking opportunities, and assistance in logistical requirements such as employment permits. These initiatives were announced during a panel discussion titled “Accessing the Jordan Market” held jointly with Action Community for Entrepreneurship (ACE) on Thursday, 9 March 2023.
The event also highlighted opportunities for Singapore businesses in the Middle East, and was graced by distinguished guests and speakers, Her Excellency Ms. Kholoud M. Saqqaf, Minister of Investment at the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; His Excellency Samer Anton Naber, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to the Republic of Singapore; Mr. Mothanna Gharaibeh, Chair of Enjez and Nova outsourcing, CEO of Fifth Advisory Services and Former Minister of Digital Economy and Entrepreneurship of Jordan; and Mr. Mike Ong, Vice President, BIGO.
With the Kingdom having one of the fastest-growing startup ecosystems in the Middle East, the discussion served as a platform for sharing unique insights into Jordan’s technology and startup ecosystem, its vibrant innovation scene, and its plethora of investment opportunities, bolstered by strong government support and a favourable business environment. The event was attended by an audience of close to 100, comprising the founders, C-suite executives, and leaders of various organisations, of which nearly two-thirds were startups.
“Jordan has been a key hub for BIGO’s MENA operations, with its favourable business environment, competitive talent pool, supportive investment policies, extensive Free Trade Agreements, and strong political stability,” said Mike Ong, Vice President, BIGO. “One key factor that led us to establish our operations in Jordan in 2019 was the rich potential the Kingdom holds in the business and info-communications technology sectors, making it an ideal springboard for us as we continue to grow our presence in the MENA region.”
BIGO’s operations in the MENA region have scaled from 50 to over a thousand employees today, with a second office being set up in Irbid, Jordan’s second-largest city. This makes BIGO one of the biggest Singapore companies in the Kingdom.
“We recognise many synergies between Singapore and the Kingdom of Jordan, including our strong connectivity as a portal into the wider region, bolstered by our deep commitment towards multi-culturalism, education, and a diversified economy,” said His Excellency Samer Anton Naber, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to the Republic of Singapore. “In 2019, the World Economic Forum (WEF) included 27 Jordanian startups among the top 100 in the Arab World although Jordan comprises only 2.5% of the population of the Arab World. With the highest number of engineers per capita in the world at one engineer out of every 40 people and a literacy rate of more than 98 percent, Jordan provides an ideal ecosystem for startups looking to expand and develop in the region, aided by a wealth of tax incentives for the technology sector.”
“BIGO’s growth and development in the MENA region has benefited greatly from the strong and longstanding relations between Singapore and Jordan,” added Mr. Ong. “As a homegrown Singapore company that has grown from strength to strength, BIGO is continually finding ways to create opportunities that contribute to Singapore’s technology ecosystem and grow alongside each other on the world stage.”
BIGO has had the privilege of hosting key government representatives at BIGO’s first MENA office in Amman, namely Dr. Maliki Bin Osman, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Second Minister for Education & Foreign Affairs in 2022, and Mr. Shamsher Zaman, Singapore Ambassador to Jordan, who visited for a second time in March 2023.