Saudi Arabia’s monarchy treasury and Burj Khalifa developer, Mohamed Alabaar chair person of Emaar Properties to launch a new platform called Noon, based in the Saudi capital Riyadh. The company will start with an initial $1 billion investment split equally between Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund and private investors led by Alabaar.
There are 350 million Arabs. Demographics are really interesting. It’s the right demographics. They are more digital than any other population in the world,” he said. “E-commerce [here] is very small... In the region there ought to be a big player, big capital, long term, the best people in the world and customer focusAlabaar to CNNMoney
E-commerce in the Middle East is worth $3 billion a year, accounting for just 2% of total retail sales, according to Alabaar. He expects the sale would soar to $70 billion by 2025.
South Arabia is looking for alternative investment options to divert their sole reliance on oil income alone as part of 2030 strategy. The country wants to bring down unemployment and make the feminine sector more active in workforce.
KSA joined with Japanese telecom firm Softbank (SFTBF) in October to form a tech investment fund worth $100 billion, making it one of the largest on the planet.
Saudi Arabia had already gushed $3.5 billion in Uber, the most valuable start-up in the world.
Noon.com will launch in January with 20 million products, ranging from fashion and baby goods to books and electronics. Noon's toughest competition will come from Souq, an e-commerce platform with 400,000 products online, according to its website.
Similar to Amazon (AMZN, Tech30), Noon will have its own warehouses, including a 3.5 million square foot fulfillment center in Dubai.
Aramex, a logistics company backed by Alabbar, will provide "major support" for delivery services.
Noon will launch currently in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, with Kuwait and Egypt to be launched in 2018.
Alabbar hopes to make the company public soon.