The US$1 billion e-commerce platform, Noon.com, began operations in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday to penetrate a market worth billions of dollars.
The Riyadh-based “Arabic-first” platform will showcase a wide variety of products partnering with market leaders and SMEs, to help offer a launchpad into the region’s e-commerce market.
Emaar Properties chairman Mohamed Alabbar said that the kingdom was moving into a “new era of economic and digital transformation”.
He said: “With talented young Saudis driving its operations, along with being powered by Saudi and regional retailers showcasing their amazing products, the platform also offers Saudi entrepreneurs, including start-ups, to be part of a fast-growing digital ecosystem.”
While the company is backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and other Gulf investors, it faces a tug-of-war with Amazon-backed Souq.com.
Souq.com, which was officially acquired by the American e-commerce giant in July, launched its Amazon Global Store on Sunday to provide UAE customers with direct access to more than one million products from the US Amazon store.
Ronaldo Mouchawar, co-founder and chief executive of Souq.com, told The National that the integration was only the first phase of several new offerings in store, which could later include Amazon Prime.
Currently Souq.com has the most market share at 13 per cent followed by Sukar.com at 8 per cent, Namshi and MarkaVIP at 7 and 5 per cent respectively, according to the US commerce department. Saudi Arabia’s online marketplace is expected to reach $5.7 billion this year.