News: 1 Billion Dollar Middle East Ecommerce Platform Launching

November 14, 2016 Sakina Sultanova

In January 2017, the Riyadh-headquartered ecommerce platform,, will launch operations in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The platform is backed by Emirati businessman, Mohamed Alabbar, Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) and other private investors, who have invested $1 billion in the project. The Chief Executive Officer, Fodhil Benturquia, is a former executive at Middle East ecommerce platform

There are plans to expand into Egypt by late 2017 and they are also considering launching operations in Kuwait and Oman. The ecommerce platform is projecting profitability within five years and stock market flotation in five to seven years, according to Alabbar.

A July 2016 report shows that Saudi Arabia has over 20 million internet users and the UAE, who has the second biggest internet penetration in the Gulf Region, has 8.5 million internet users.

Inadequate logistics and electronic payment methods have negatively affected ecommerce in the Middle East, despite its population of young, tech-savvy people. One of the ways will combat this issue is by accepting online payments and cash upon delivery.

Recently, Alabbar has made several investments including buying stakes in Italian online retailer Yoox Net-A-Porter, Dubai logistics firm Aramex and Kuwait Food Co (Americana). will use Aramex's and Americana's logistic capabilities to deliver goods. There are over 20 million products that will be available on the ecommerce site.

To read more, please see: Dubai businessman Alabbar, Saudi SWF launch $1 billion e-commerce platform.

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About the Author

Sakina Sultanova

Global Account Services Manager. Sakina is originally from Azerbaijan and is now living and working in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. She fluently speaks 5 languages including Azeri, Russian, Turkish, English and Chinese. In high school, she was an exchange student in Alabama, United States of America. She graduated from Baku State University, faculty of Oriental Studies (China). She has 8 years’ experience in different fields of Business Development, Office Management, Translation and Teaching. She has worked in international companies owned by Chinese, Turkish and British firms, providing her diverse experience with different cultures and business protocols and customs. She has solid experience as well in sales, researching, customer relations and business planning. She is a proud mother of 2 year old baby-girl. In her free time she enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading and playing outdoors.

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