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A first for the region: Zain enters joint venture with car-sharing specialist, YOYO

- City-wide car-sharing app service to be initially offered in Bahrain by April, expanded to     other Zain markets in due course
- Zain positioning itself to benefit from US$30 billion global market by 2020

Zain- YoYo handshake.jpg

Barcelona – 5 March, 2017:

Zain Group, the leading mobile telecom innovator across the Middle East and Africa, announces a joint venture with YOYO, ( one of the most innovative digital startups in Turkey, to bring an exciting car sharing club model initially to Bahrain, and later expanded across the Zain regional footprint and the MENA region.

It is forecasted that the total car sharing market globally could reach as high as US$30 billion in 2020, fulfilling the prediction of Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford, great-grandson of Henry Ford who is quoted as saying: "The future of transportation will be a blend of things like car sharing, public transportation, and private car ownership."

The agreement was penciled during a ceremony during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona attended by Zain Group CEO, Scott Gegenheimer; Zain Bahrain GM Mohammed Zainalabedin; Emre Gurkan, Zain Group Chief Strategy and Development Officer and Berkman Cavusoglu, Co-Founder and CEO of YOYO.

YOYO is a vehicle sharing club in which registered members, via an app on their smartphones, are easily able to reserve and use vehicles as they require, even for an hour or as long as they require. The way the YOYO service works is that a customer can select a vehicle from any location in the city in which the service is available and reserve it for any time period. Doors of the hired vehicle are unlocked by the customer's membership card or mobile application, with the vehicle's keys found inside.  The members can return back their cars to another parking station and leave the cars by locking again from their smartphones; without any hassle.

From Zain's perspective, this joint venture of participating in the fast growing "shared economy" vertical, underlines the company's culture of innovation as it looks to bring new and appealing services to the region. Zain believes the ease-of-use of the YOYO application and the logistical convenience of the service it provides are key differentiators that will drive its success across the region.

Commenting on the joint venture agreement with YOYO, Scott Gegenheimer, Zain Group CEO said, "We are enthusiastic about delivering new business models to our customers and to the region in general, and we look forward to our customers in Bahrain having the first experience of this compelling new service."

Gegenheimer continued, "It really is a special case when a service can be delivered that makes people's lives easier, while at the same time having a positive social impact on issues such as pollution and congestion. We already have a successful agreement in place with UBER, and we believe this latest arrangement with YOYO has every potential for rapid adoption across our markets and beyond."

Zain Bahrain General Manager, Mohammed Zainalabedin said, "Zain Bahrain is determined to offer its customer the latest in digital services that improve their livelihoods and their mobile experience. We believe the Bahrain community will welcome the YoYo car sharing service, and we are excited by the impending launch of this service to our customers. Zain Bahrain is keen to play its role in maintaining the Kingdom's leading position in the region's telecommunication sector."   

Berkman Cavusoglu, Co-Founder and CEO of YOYO said, "We believe momentum for car-sharing services is gathering pace all the time, and for us this is a perfect opportunity to expand into new markets such as the Middle East. For the last three years, we have been very heavily focused on younger demographics of people aged between 25-35, and now we are keen to also explore foreign markets and move into the B2B space. We feel our joint venture with Zain Group will help us achieve both of these strategic objectives, and we are obviously very excited to be partnering with a telco with the reach and reputation that Zain possesses."

YOYO already counts over 20,000 members in Turkey, who use the service regularly, with more than 200 unique reservations being registered every day The car-sharing customer base is forecast to grow to be nearly 15 million in Europe by 2020, with there being nearly 240,000 shared chartering vehicles across the continent by that time.

Zain is confident that such a service will be welcomed by many commuters across all its market, as it provides a simple, cost-efficient and effective option for road travel in addition to supporting the reduction of congestion and pollution.

 The joint venture with YOYO builds on the programs launched under Zain's Digital Frontier and Innovation (ZDFI) initiative, which was established in 2014. ZDFI is charged with launching Zain into the digital space with the view to growing the company through new innovative business streams, which add to the company's financial viability and market capitalization. ZDFI focuses on the areas of innovation; digital services; corporate venturing; and smart cities, with the ultimate aim of Zain becoming a regional innovation trendsetter.​

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