Amazon and Souq announced the launch of Amazon.ae, which replaces souq.com in the UAE nearly two years after Amazon’s $580 million acquisition of the e-commerce platform.
“It’s a great day. I think first for our customers, it’s really amazing. We bring a lot of the local know-how of how our region works with a lot of what Amazon offers globally,” Ronaldo Mouchawar, co-founder of Souq and vice president of Amazon Mena told The National.
Customers who visit the Souq site will be redirected to the new domain with a message from Mr. Mouchawar, who founded Souq in 2005, initially as an auction site linked to internet portal Maktoob.
In the message, Mr Mouchawar says “there have been many milestones for Souq over the past 15 years and today, we have another to share to you. We are proud to announce that we are now Amazon.ae”. The new site “features over 30 million products, including those previously available on Souq and five million products from Amazon US”.
He added that the team in the region “has grown to over 3,600 people, and each and every one of us is thrilled to invite you on this journey”, and said many new products and services will be added in the future.
Amazon introduced the Arabic language for the first time to both the mobile app and the website.
“This was a big focus. While a lot of the content in the UAE is consumed in English, we did want to make sure that we are super localised, not only in the language but also in the payments, delivery, logistics,” said Mr Mouchawar.
The Egypt and Saudi Arabia sites will remain as Souq.com with no plans to shift to Amazon yet, but Mr. Mouchawar said, “it’s a journey”.
Souq has been attracting 45 million visits per month with its product categories including electronics, fashion, perfumes and beauty, home and kitchen, and supermarket.
The region’s e-commerce sector is growing at the fastest pace globally, with online sales expected to double to $48.8bn by 2021, according to a report by Fitch Solutions Macro Research. E-commerce spending in the UAE is expected to increase by 170 per cent to $27.1bn in 2022, from $9.7bn in 2017.