Founder of e-commerce venture Noon, Mohamed Alabbar, has revealed ambitions to invest a further $2 billion in the digital marketplace over the next three years in order to reach a goal of delivery to customers within 15-20 minutes. The financing will come from Alabbar, the Chariman at Emaar of Emaar Properties, as well as Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund (PIF) and others as it seeks to capture a larger slice of the Gulf e-commerce market.
The investments will be used to upgrade infrastructure and help speed up deliveries, Noon founder Mohamed Alabbar said. Alabbar owns 50% of Noon jointly with other regional private investors. The company raised $1 billion from backers including the PIF to create the Riyadh-headquartered e-commerce company in 2016. Today, it has around 4 million daily users and growth is accelerating as it pushes into grocery delivery.
The Middle East’s e-commerce industry has accelerated over the past couple of years with the help of lockdowns leading to a necessary shift to online shopping and food delivery. Alabbar said e-commerce currently accounts for 2% to 2.5% of total retail in the region, compared with 20% to 22% in the western world and China.
Noon operates in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt and is looking to expand within the region, it is Amazon’s biggest competitor in the Middle East.
Any new funding for Noon would come amid a wave of tech investments in the region. In June, a PIF unit led a new financing round for Jordan-based online classifieds business OpenSooq.com, which is looking to triple headcount across the Middle East. Sanabil, another unit of the wealth fund, led a $35 million funding round for Dubai-based online car trader SellAnyCar.com last year.
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