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Yalla Group Becomes First UAE-Based Tech Startup to Be Listed on New York Stock Exchange

The startup behind MENA-focused social networking platform Yalla hopes to raise $139.5 million through American Depositary shares.

Yalla Group has become the first UAE-based tech startup to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Officially joining on September 30th, shares begun trading under the symbol YALA, and the offering is expected to close on October 2nd. The startup hopes to raise a whopping $139.5 million through American Depositary shares, each priced at $7.50.

Launched in 2016 and backed by investments from China's Orchid Asia Group Management and SIG China, the Emirati-Chinese platform has over 12 million active users, 5.4 million of which pay for the service. The platform's users are concentrated across UAE, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

The news has been hailed in the UAE, with Dubai's Sheikh Mohammed marking it as trailblazer in the local digital economy. “From Dubai Internet City, the social networking platform Yalla Group is the first unicorn UAE-based technology company to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange,” he Tweeted. “Our digital economy is growing and will remain an integral part of our exports globally.”

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