E-commerce marketplace set to boom with the launch of Noon.com in Dubai and Riyadh

An online shopping platform featuring 20 million products has been launched in Dubai and Riyadh. Emirati billionaire and businessman Mohamed Alabbar will surely be calling the shots of the new and improved face of ecommerce in the region.

Ecommerce, as an industry is fast picking up in the Middle East and more experts believe that the there is scope for innovation in the field of retail. Arabian Gazette spoke with Lavanya Singhal, a StartUp advisory board member of India’s Delhi University to understand the scope of ecommerce in the Middle East. “I did not think of the Middle East as a potential market earlier. Now, things are changing and the people here are welcoming technology in the space of retail. Even my ecommerce venture based out of India has started shipping out to Dubai. And, I must say, I see a lot of potential. We need to wait and watch if Noon.com has the potential to be the next Alibaba of the world,” said Lavanya Singhal,  founder of Nature Lounge that creates field products for photographers.

The new e-commerce company, Noon.com, will have same day delivery for products as clothing, books, sports and outdoor, toys and electronics.

He was speaking at Dubai Opera House. Alabbar, who is also Chairman of Emaar, said: “We are turning e-commerce environment in the region upside down.”

The new $1 billion venture will be introduced in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and then worldwide from January.

Alabbar is leading the venture with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, described Noon as “nothing less than a quantum leap in retail in the region, and the world”.

He added: “I am pleased to announce that the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia will take 50 per cent equity in Noon. In addition, the head office of Noon will be based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.”

Alabbar said he expects the new company to have a dominant market share in the region with competitors such as Souq.com, which currently offers around two million products on sale and in comparison Noon would be a ten times bigger platform.

“With Noon, we are offering the most customer-centric e-commerce experience available anywhere,” he said.

“In one move, we are launching a future-focused company which is the biggest online shopping platform ever seen in the region. Noon is a company born in the Middle East and serves customers in the Middle East.”

Payment can be made through NoonPay and the new venture will also have a logistics centre in the Dubai World Central.

A same-day delivery through Noon Transportation, an in-house express delivery service, and Aramex will be provided.

It had been reported earlier that Alabbar was a lead investor in Boson Ventures Corporation, which purchased a 9.9 % share in Aramex.

Noon.com’s edge over its competitors lies in its deployment of the latest technology, CEO Fodhil Benturquia added.

He said: “Our customer experience will be driven by state-of-the-art technology that will power everything from product discovery to purchase and delivery.” Benturquia added: “We want to be the partner of choice for sellers, whether they’re big or small. We invite them to be part of our ecosystem, working together to change the online shopping landscape for the Middle East customer.”

Noon, through its mobile app and noon.com website, will be an end-to-end e-commerce retailer.

E-commerce experience earned at sector leaders including Amazon, Apple, PayPal, eBay, Google and Flipkart will help Noon’s team to be ahead of the competition.

With an initial investment of $1 billion, Noon aims to grow online sales in the region from two per cent of the total market ($3 billion), to 15 percent ($70 billion) within a decade.

The name of the new site is derived from the Arabic letter N, or Noon.

Noon.com – At a glance

  • Going live in January
  • 20 million products covering fashion, books, home and garden, electronics and toys and baby products
  • Same-day delivery through Noon Transportation, an in-house express delivery service
  • NoonPay, a secure and innovative payment gateway
  • Warehousing of more than 10 million sq.ft.
  • At 3.5 million sq. ft. the UAE centre will cover more than 60 football fields
  • Saudi Arabia’s PIF to take 50 per cent equity in Noon
  • Target to drive the Middle East online sales from $3bn to $70bn in a decade
 

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