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Noon founder Alabbar says Amazon ‘should go back to Seattle’

Noon founder Alabbar says Amazon ‘should go back to Seattle’

Global e-commerce giant Amazon began regional operations after acquiring Dubai-based Souq.com

Dubai businessman Mohamed Alabbar, the founder of regional e-commerce platform Noon.com, has said he is not deterred by the competition posed by Amazon in the region.

The global e-commerce site began regional operations after acquiring Dubai-based Souq.com in 2017 for an estimated $650m. Souq’s UAE site was relaunched as Amazon.ae earlier this year.

Read: Souq relaunches as Amazon.ae in the UAE

Speaking to WIRED magazine, Alabbar said: “My advice to them? I think they should go back to Seattle. We want Noon to do well because we don’t want just one guy to sell baby milk to our kids. I will not allow that. No way will that ever happen. I don’t want one company to control the life of my people.”

Alabbar, who is also the chairman of Emaar Properties, launched the $1bn Noon.com in late 2017 in collaboration with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.

“We owe it to 400 million Arabs that they go to the digital economy. I think it’s our duty; otherwise the Middle East will either be left behind, or will be occupied by foreign powers. These foreign powers are digital banks, digital companies, digital media—there’s no need for military,” he told the magazine.

“I am not a man driven by money, I am driven by wellbeing of my society. Otherwise, why should I do this? I’m making, every year, net $2 billion in my real estate business. Why should I do all this again? I have a duty. We have to have an e-commerce company. And it has to dominate. It has to,” he said.

He added: “The Amazons of the world are not indispensable. They are not untouchable. A lot of these companies are not doing well outside their home territories. They’re losing ground everywhere in the world—they should go and focus on America, to try to see if they can keep control of their business while Walmart is attacking them.”

Earlier this year, Noon signed an agreement with China’s Neolix to trial autonomous vehicles in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Neolix will build driverless vehicles customised to the region’s weather conditions, noon said at the time.

Read: Noon partners with China’s Neolix to trial autonomous vehicles in Saudi, UAE

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