Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

KSA Investing in Region’s Largest E-Commerce Platform | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Mohamed Alabbar partners to launch a Middle East-specific e-commerce website. (Image: Reuters)

Dubai – The largest e-commerce platform in the Arab region will be launched in January, in a joint venture between Saudi Arabia’s General Investment Authority and a group of Gulf investors.

Emaar Properties Chairman Mohamed Alabbar announced on Sunday the launch of a $1bn regional e-commerce site, under the name of noon.com, with a 50 percent investment from the kingdom’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) and the rest from about 60 other Gulf investors.

In a news conference, Alabbar said that distribution centers were being set up in the Saudi cities of Riyadh and Jeddah, along with a giant warehouse in Dubai.

“We expect to become a world player but will concentrate firstly on Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates,” he said.

Alabbar told Asharq al-Awsat newspaper that the new platform will be accessible to customers in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, adding that it would soon reach all the countries in the Middle East.

The new venture is aimed at increasing regional e-sales from the current $3 billion, which represents 2 percent of the total sales in the regional markets, to $70 billion or 15 percent of the total amount of sales within a period of ten years.

Alabbar said the company’s headquarters will be based in the Saudi capital, adding that it will work hard to guarantee full customers’ satisfaction and best services.

Products will include fashion, books, home and garden, electronics, sports and outdoor, health and beauty, personal care, toys, children’s and baby products.

The young population in the world relies on digital technology, Alabbar said, adding: “We, as Arabs, have a majority young population so we have to deal with that reality and deal with it fast.”

Fodhil Benturquia, CEO of Noon.com, said while product prices will be competitive, the primary focus will be on customer service.