Amazon launched its first Arabic website in the UAE to reinforce its presence in the Middle East, after its plan to pull back from China. Amazon is rebranding the popular regional UAE ecommerce platform Souq.com it had bought for $580 million in 2017.
Souq users in the UAE will be redirected to Amazon’s UAE website Amazon.ae, where products sold by Amazon in the US will also be displayed. In addition, there will be better payment options for users, according to Souq Founder Ronaldo Mouchawar. He said Amazon.ae is a milestone for the company as well as the customers, allowing them to shop in Arabic on both the Amazon app and the website.
There are also specific deals featured on Amazon.ae, such as sales during Ramadan which will begin next week. Also, Souq will be available in other countries such as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Europe where it operates.
“The UAE becomes the first country to transition to the Amazon marketplace in the region, and the focus had been on achieving that in the most painless manner possible,” Mouchawar said. “What this means is all our regional vendors can migrate to the global platform and with all the benefits that come with it.”
According to Bain & Company, the e-commerce market in the Middle East was valued at $8.3 billion in 2017, and is expected to triple to $28.5 billion by 2022.
Currently, Amazon is competing with other e-commerce companies such as AliExpress owned by the Chinese ecommerce firm Alibaba, and eBay. Both companies have a firm presence in the region.
Amazon is trying to reinforce its presence in the Middle East especially after its plan to pull back from China. This means Amazon customers in the country will no longer be able to purchase goods from Chinese merchants on the platform.