Germany's Seekport eyes Arab Internet search engine

German Internet firm Seekport is planning to launch a dedicated Arabic language search engine, which it claims can revolutionize the moribund Arabic Internet market, a Reuters report said.

The report, quoting Hermann Havermann, managing director of Seekport, said "Sawafi," planned for the last quarter of 2006, could also set a tough challenge for international search giants such as Google, MSN and Yahoo, which offered a basic Arabic search facility at present.

"There is no (full) Arabic Internet search engine on the market. You find so-called search engines, but they involve a directory search, not a local search. There's nothing available for overall Internet search," Havermann told Reuters.

The report said Seekport unveiled the project with Saudi partner Integrated Technical Solutions in Riyadh this week.

Sawafi hoped to copy the success of local Chinese language search engine Baidu, which had made huge strides in a market with over 100 million Web surfers, the report said.