Dubai, Saudi start e-com­merce site

The Myanmar Times - - International Business -

DUBAI busi­ness mag­nate Mo­hamed Alab­bar an­nounced the launch of a US$1 bil­lion re­gional e-com­merce site in a joint ven­ture with the Saudi sov­er­eign wealth fund and other gulf in­vestors.

Noon.com is to go on­line in Jan­uary with a 50 per­cent in­vest­ment from the Saudi Ara­bian king­dom’s Pub­lic In­vest­ment Fund and the rest from around 60 in­vestors led by Mr Alab­bar, who heads the emi­rate’s real es­tate gi­ant Emaar.

He told a press con­fer­ence that dis­tri­bu­tion cen­tres are be­ing set up in the Saudi cities of Riyadh and Jed­dah, along with a gi­ant ware­house the size of 60 foot­ball sta­di­ums in bustling Dubai.

“We ex­pect to be­come a world player but will con­cen­trate firstly on Saudi Ara­bia and the United Arab Emi­rates,” said the pres­i­dent of Emaar, the com­pany which built the world’s tallest build­ing, the Burj Khal­ifa in Dubai.

With an ini­tial in­ven­tory of 20 mil­lion prod­ucts, the on­line re­tailer aims to ex­pand to Egypt, the Arab world’s most pop­u­lous state, at the end of next year or early in 2018.

Mr Alab­bar, quoted by Bloomberg, said the idea was for Noon.com to be traded on stock mar­kets after five to seven years.

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

With e-com­merce grow­ing fast in the Mid­dle East, the re­gion’s Souq. com, founded in 2005 as an auc­tion site be­fore ex­pand­ing into gen­eral re­tail, is of­ten de­scribed as “the Ama­zon of the Mid­dle East”.

In Fe­bru­ary, Souq.com an­nounced it had raised $273 mil­lion from in­ter­na­tional in­vestors to fi­nance ex­pan­sion plans. –

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