Noon.com, a US$1 billion e-commerce platform founded by the Emaar Properties chairman Mohamed Alabbar, has launched its operations in the UAE.
From Saturday September 30, customers can browse its catalogue of brands by visiting www.noon.com or by downloading the Noon Mobile App via Google Play Store. A mobile app via App Store will be available in the coming days.
Noon is also set to go live in Saudi Arabia “in the coming weeks”, the company said in a statement.
Mr Alabbar said: “Today, we are excited to deliver orders to our first customers. We are proud to take this important first step in our journey, and we are committed to making Noon the region’s Arabic-first e-commerce platform.”
He added: “As digital technologies cause disruptions across industries and geographies, it is important for us to shape a digital marketplace that is relevant to our local markets and serves as a growth platform for brick-and-mortar retailers.”
Its launch has been long awaited, as it had originally planned to go live in January 2017.
In July, it appointed Faraz Khalid, the co-founder of online fashion retailer Namshi.com, as its new chief executive, to help steer the company through its launch.
Noon is a joint venture project between Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund and a number of prominent Gulf investors.
Through partnerships with local retailers, Noon aims to provide the region’s customers with an assortment of products including electronics, fashion, beauty, baby, home & kitchen and grocery.
At launch, Noon offers a selection of fashion brands and an extensive selection of baby products and homeware. It also has a collection of modern gadgets and electronic goods targeted specifically at millennials.
Noon will also cater to the needs of book lovers, adventurers and new parents.
Last month, MH Alshaya, the Kuwaiti franchise operator which is present across the Arab world, Turkey and Russia, bought a stake in Noon, although the size of its investment was not disclosed.
MH Alshaya will list its portfolio of international brands covering fashion, health & beauty and home & lifestyle categories on Noon’s platform.
Noon announced last November that it had a warehouse the size of 60 football pitches in Dubai and a head office in Riyadh.
The e-commerce sector has been rapidly growing in the UAE thanks to the country’s affluent and digitally savvy population. Mergers and acquisitions in the sector also picked up pace over the past year.
There is a notable push by a number of home-grown brands to go beyond brick and mortar operations that have traditionally defined the retail landscape, with a pivot to develop the online shopping industry and directly challenge Amazon. And it is not just Noon that is stepping to the plate. According to Magnitt, an online start-up community, e-commerce comprised the lion’s share of deals at 16 per cent investing in start-ups in the first half of the year, followed by technology at 13 per cent and Fintech at 10 per cent.