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Sunday, November 13, 2016

Middle East gets new $1b online shopping platform!

  • will launch in January 2017 and sell 20 million products
Competition is hotting up in online retail sales in the Middle East. Emaar Properties chairman Mohamed Alabbar announced the launch of a new online retailer,, in the Middle East on Sunday.

The e-commerce website will boast an inventory of 20 million products and will go live in January 2017. The products will include fashion, books, home and garden, electronics, sports and outdoor, health and beauty, personal care, toys, kids and baby products, and more.

The $1 billion venture is equally funded by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund and another group led by Alabbar and other GCC investors.

The region's largest e-commerce company, Noon will initially start off with operations in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, with its head office in Riyadh.Alabbar described Noon as "nothing less than a quantum leap in retail in the region and the world".

Noon aims to grow online sales in the Middle East from two per cent of the total market ($3 billion) to 15 per cent ($70 billion) within a decade.

"We want to turn the e-commerce market in the Middle East upside down. Noon will be a game-changing e-commerce platform," said Alabbar.

Unfazed by competition in the digital market, Noon's CEO Fodhil Benturquia said: "We have 10 times more inventory than leaders in the market. Noon is eyeing market dominance."

The retailer is building a 3.5 million sq ft warehousing facility (the size of over 60 football fields) in DWTC. Other such centres will come up in Riyadh, Jeddah and other Eastern provinces in Saudi Arabia. Noon currently has more than 10 million sq ft of warehousing under construction.

Noon has already tied up with local distributors, brands, small vendors and retailers. "Our prices will be very competitive and we will offer a great customer experience. We will deliver authentic products on time and meet customer expectations. Physical stores also have the opportunity to sell on our platform," Benturquia informed.

The online retailer also promises same-day delivery through Noon Transportation, an in-house express delivery service. Payments will be through NoonPay, a secure and fast payment gateway. Noon will also have a mobile app.

Speaking on the involvement of logistics giant Aramex (in which Alabbar Enterprises purchased a stake) in the e-commerce venture, Emaar's chairman said: "Aramex will be an integral part of our eco-system."

Referring to his much-hyped meeting with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in Dubai over the weekend, Alabbar said: "Amazon inspires all of us. It was a friendly meeting. Jeff came to explore what's going on in the Middle East."

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