There’s a new marketplace in the UAE, soon to expand to Saudi Arabia. The Noon.com marketplace is registered in Dubai and has backing from a billionaire, Mohamed Alabbar and 50% from the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia. More than $1 billion has been pledged in investments to get the site up and running, although it was originally due to launch in January.
Currently open to buyers from the UAE, Noon will soon also open it’s doors to buyers from Saudi Arabia, but sellers from outside these two territories can also apply to sell on the marketplace.
Noon is available in both English and Arabic language and has launched with top level categories for Electronics; Fashion; Home & Kitchen; Beauty & Fragrance; Baby Products; and Grocery.
The launch of Noon is likely to trigger a price war in the Middle East. Souq which Amazon acquired this summer will not want to lose ground to the newcomer Noon, which eventually launched without fanfare this Saturday.
Currently it’s estimated that only about 2% of retail sales take place online in the Middle East, compared to around 15% in more established regions. This means that there is plenty of room for growth and that’s why Noon appear confident that the timing is right for a new marketplace.
If you decide to explore selling on Noon.com, make sure that your product feed is tailored for the Middle East. Products which may seem trivial in the West could cause great offense in the Middle East and/or be illegal. In particular avoid products which may be considered culturally or religiously offensive and items which may not be considered to be in compliance with general local law, Islamic law, rules, morals, values, ethics and traditions. Items related to gambling, weapons, alcohol, tobacco and drugs in any way are strictly forbidden.