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Uber vs Careem: Which is most talked about in the Middle East?

Social media conversation about ride-hailing app Uber is on the decline in the Middle East, while its local competitor Careem is gaining pace, according to a new report.

US-based Crimson Hexagon, a social media analytics company, on Wednesday said in its “The Middle East Consumer Trends” report that Careem is gaining traction over Uber because it is perceived as a “local” brand as regional consumers now prefer and support a home-grown brands.

Careem, a Dubai-based car booking app, started operations in the Middle East in 2012, with US-based Uber entered the region in 2013 though was launched in the US in 2009.

The report said social media post volume for Uber has jumped by a whopping 827 percent since 2014, while Careem’s social footprint has risen mere 108 percent.

While the above data may indicate Uber holds the pole position in the Middle East, the report revealed Careem is closing the gap on Uber in terms of “positive feedback”.

“Uber conversation is only 4 percent more positive than negative, while Careem conversation is 25 percent more positive than negative,” said Alexendra Maia, founder, House of Social, and author of the report.

She added that further analysis of the conversation found the negative sentiment surrounding Uber typically coming from frustrations with the app and with rude/unpleasant drivers.

Justin Khaksar, senior vice president, EMEA and APAC, Crimson Hexagon, said that social media posts are a unique gateway to gaining key consumer insights, and businesses that aren’t paying heed to it will massively miss out.

The company said it used its proprietary language-agnostic social analytics platform to analyse English and Arabic language conversation across Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and forums in these regions between 2012 and 2016 for the report. The countries included were the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon.

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