The Huffington Post has teamed up with former director general of the Al Jazeera Network, Wadah Khanfar, to create an Arabic-language edition of the online news brand.
The site will be the Huffington Post’s 12th around the world following a global expansion over the last two years which has seen moves into the UK, France, Germany, Korea, Japan and Brazil markets among others.
HuffPost Arabi will have access to journalists within the Integral Media Strategies network, of which Khanfar is now CEO, although the main editorial team will be London-based. The Huffington Post has driven its global expansion by partnering with media brands and networks in various regions.
According to a statement, Integral Media Strategies, which was founded by Khanfar after he left Al Jazeera, is “building an Arabic language digital content hub focused on creating, curating, amplifying and enabling the production of quality online news and factual content based on stories, events and issues from the Arab region”.
Huffington Post president and editor-in-chief Arianna Huffington said: “There’s such a great need – not only in the region, but all over the world – to bring more Arab voices into the conversation and deepen the world’s understanding of life in the Arab world, from its accomplishments to its untapped potential.
“Wadah Khanfar has been a great friend and supporter of HuffPost for years, helping to guide our coverage of the Middle East, and I’m thrilled to be partnering with him and Integral Media Strategies to create a truly independent news source at such an important time in the region’s history.”
Khanfar said the partnership would create a “fresh and exciting online community” where Arabic content creators could be heard, and appeal to the Arab world’s “new digital generation”.
Jimmy Maymann, CEO of the Huffington Post, added: “You only have to look at the 16 per cent annual growth in internet usage and 64 per cent annual growth in digital advertising spend over the last five years to understand the scale of this opportunity for us.”
The Huffington Post previously looked at an expansion into Russia but plans were pulled following the crisis in Ukraine. The title is also considering a move into the Chinese market and expects to launch in India later this year.