At a launch event today, Mohamed Alabbar, the chairman of Emaar Group and Alabbar Enterprises announced the launch of a billion-dollar eCommerce platform – Noon.com. The ecommerce platform, which will be launched in January next year, aims to grow online sales in the region from two percent of the total market to 15 percent within a decade.
The venture will be headquartered in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and is expected to feature over 20 million products across multiple categories including Fashion, Electronics, and Home/Lifestyle. Alabbar, who is leading the venture with prominent GCC investors, said at the launch event, “We come with the endurance to build a customer-centric business for the long-term. For us, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. 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.”
Noon’s CEO Fodhil Benturquia, who was previously leading Souq.com’s operations in Saudi Arabia, said, “The customer is the purpose of our being, and we are here to win their hearts and their trust.” The company is currently building an in-house logistics team called Noon Transportation as well as 10 million sq.feet of warehousing, of which 3.5 million will be in the UAE.
The transportation capabilities will facilitate a same-day delivery service. In addition, they’re also building a payment gateway service called NoonPay. Benturquia said they’ve already started onboard businesses on the platform. He said that Noon, through its mobile app and Noon.com website, will be an end-to-end ecommerce retailer.
“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. Our team not only comes with exceptional backgrounds, but also with an all-consuming passion to change the way things are done,” he added.
Noon’s team has a wealth of ecommerce experience earned at sector leaders including Amazon, Apple, PayPal, eBay, Google, Flipkart and others. With an investment of $1 billion, Alabbar said Noon.com aims to be the “dominant” e-commerce platform in a region catering to over 350 million people. At the event, it was also announced that the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund owns a 50 percent stake in the venture and the remaining 50 percent is being held by Alabbar and a consortium of investors across the GCC countries of UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, and Oman.