Internet cafe’s, tempting investment projects [Archives:2004/771/Business & Economy]

September 9 2004

Mahyoub Al-Kamaly
Internet cafe's spread in the capital Sana'a strongly compete popular inns in attracting young people.
Although the Yemeni private sector has been investing its money in information and Internet since the year 2000, it has found out that such investment yields high and alluring project estimated at 75% compared to investments in tourist or other sectors.
Statistics mention that there have been increasing members of investors in the sector of Internet and telephone communication centers. Internet home subscribers number does not exceed 15 thousands, whereas during the past three years the number internet cafe's licenses doubled three folds.
An owner of an internet cafe in Sana'a says we have discovered that using our money in opening internet cafe's gives us unexpected a mounts of project. In this cafe we have 20 computer machines linked to one telephone line, with cheap price not exceeding one Yemeni riyal per minute, which the cafe customer pays. Profit temptation is easily gained. When we have 20 customers using internet in one hour, the average project is 3600 Yemeni riyal per day, yielding around YR 180 a month. If the number of hours increases the monthly profit could rise to about YR 540 thousand per month. Such project rates we cannot gain at other sectors with such an ease.
The same owner of the cafe, on the other hand, complains that project rate has retreated in this year because of the ministry of communications and information technology's decision of ordering internet cafe's owners to place their computers at the front of their cafe's instead of being placed inside. This measure came as a result of many complaints by citizens complaining of using the internet in browsing sites showing indecent pictures and topics.
Internet cafe's owners criticize the idea of placing their computers' screens to be seen from outside the cafe. They say the measure has resulted in customers' objection as they say it affects their chatting with friends and browsing their emails.
Internet cafe's spread intensively in the capital Sana'a, especially nearby the University. Many Commercial, shops offering internet services were opened there where large number of students are getting information, data and studies' results to be used by them in areas of their scientific and theoretical specialties. Student Ahmed Nasser al-Udaini, second year college of Medicine says providing internet services close to the University building has facilited valuable sources of knowledge and sciences in return for convenient prices, not difficult for students, financial ability, especially those students from limited income families. In addition, references are expensive to be compared to information acquired through internet cafe's.
It is noted that the increasing number of investors in internet services sector has contributed to decrease in proportion of internet cafe's. Private sector nets have become available in many areas in the capital, in addition to the project proposed by the president of the republic pertaining the supply of computer sets for government employees, abolishment of duties levied for internet services, all of which helped reduce profits of investors.
Internet services are very much available in citizens' houses and many university students use their own private computers for getting information they want. This development forces many owners of internet cafe's close down their shops and shift to invest in telephone communications, which in turn witnessed an increase by 85% in comparison with four years before.
An owner of communication center says telephone communication centers are different from internet services in that of easy gaining of profits.