Amazon rival Noon to raise US$2 billion

Amazon.com Inc’s Middle Eastern competitor Noon.com is gearing up to raise up to US$2 billion in fresh funding from backers (including Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund) over the next three to four years.

This is part of efforts by the firm to expand its stake, reach, and customer base in the Gulf e-commerce market. 

The fresh capital injection from the Public Investment Fund and other backers will be deployed to aid theupgrade of infrastructure and also to ramp up the speed of delivery.

The Middle East has taken a little longer to accept e-commerce than other regions, although the lockdownmeasures imposed in a bid to combat the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 have accelerated the transition to online shopping and food delivery.

An exec of the firm noted that there is still much room for expansion, since e-commerce currently accounts foronly 2% to 2.5% of total retail in the region, compared with 20% to 22% in the western world and China.

Noon currently has its operations in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. The firm is looking to launch its services in other international markets across the Middle East.

“We have a long way to go,” the exec said. “There is a lot of room for growth and a lot of countries to cover.” 

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