Amazon Creeps to Middle East Market

Earlier this year in March 2017. Amazon confirmed that it has acquired Souq.com, an e-commerce marketplace serving the Middle East based out of Dubai, which was already commonly described as “the Amazon of the Middle East.” Amazon did not disclose the price in a short statement announcing the deal, although rumours are that it was valued around $650 million.

Souq.com launched the Amazon Global Store on Sunday to allow UAE consumers to tap the US online store for more than one million American-offered products. Online shoppers in the UAE will have the option to purchase items ranging from apparel, shoes and handbags to home goods and watches, the company said on Monday.

Ronaldo Mouchawar, co-founder and chief executive of Souq.com, told The National that the company would add more selection and inventory. “Today we’ve started with more than one million products, but this is only Day 1,” he said.

Amazon’s acquisition of Souq marks the company’s first move into serving the Middle East region, which covers a total of some 50 million consumers across several countries, as well as a relatively untapped market: only about two percent of all retail spend today is made online, according to a report from McKinsey.

“Amazon and SOUQ.com share the same DNA – we’re both driven by customers, invention, and long-term thinking,” said Russ Grandinetti, Amazon Senior Vice President, International Consumer, in a statement. “SOUQ.com pioneered e-commerce in the Middle East, creating a great shopping experience for their customers. We’re looking forward to both learning from and supporting them with Amazon technology and global resources. And together, we’ll work hard to provide the best possible service for millions of customers in the Middle East.”

The acquisition of Souq is the latest move from Amazon to expand in the general region. Up to now, many of its moves in neighboring markets have been organic — that is, Amazon building its international operations from the ground up rather than through acquisitions.

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