E-commerce platform Noon.com, which was expected to be launched in January this year, is on track to start operations before the end of 2017, its billionaire founder Mohamed Alabbar said in a statement.
Alabbar, who is also the founder and chairman of Emaar Properties, unveiled plans in November 2016 to partner with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) to launch the online shopping platform, with an initial investment of $1 billion.
Alabbar previously said Noon.com would offer 20 million products including technology, fashion, toys, and books.
“I am pleased to confirm that Noon is on track to launch this year,” Alabbar said in the statement.
“Noon.com’s beta program has been very insightful, and the feedback received from early customers had allowed the company to test and refine its technology and fulfillment model,” Alabbar said.
He added that the coming months would be spent to ensure that all their systems and processes work at the highest possible level, particularly taking into consideration the many supply chain innovations the firm has been developing.
“The company is currently in the process of establishing strategic partnerships with an extensive range of regional retailers, distributors, and global brands,” Alabbar said.
“Following the launch, Noon.com’s permanent operational base will be in Riyadh, and the company is currently scaling up its resourcing and operations in Saudi Arabia,” he added.
This coincided with additional drama in the e-commerce space after Emaar Malls, which like Alabbar Enterprises is headed by Mohamed Alabbar, also jumped into the fray to buy regional e-commerce giant Souq.com for $800 million.
However, Amazon won that battle, closing the deal for Souq.com for a deal reported to be worth around $650 million.
The JadoPado Question
Last week, a technology fund led by the Dubai billionaire acquired e-commerce and online marketplace website JadoPado.
It was earlier reported by various online sources that the entire front end for Noon.com was to be replaced by JadoPado’s team. The value of the transaction was not disclosed.
This was confirmed by Omar Kassim, founder and CEO at Jadopado, in a statement:
“The Jadopado team will be integrated into ongoing projects such as Noon.com and will also be involved in exciting new projects across the digital spectrum in areas such as marketplaces, food commerce, payments, and logistics.”
JadoPado, which was launched in 2011, developed into a wider online marketplace that allows sellers to create their own virtual shops and sell directly to buyers.
The acquisition reportedly was made to shore up gaps in Noon.com’s development, which at this point has resulted in a 5-month delay from the announced date.
It is also reported that Noon.com lost its chief executive, Fodhil Benturquia, last month, for who no replacement has been revealed yet.
It is reported though that JadoPado’s Kassim has been made its chief technology officer.
Alabbar, of course, has other interests in the e-commerce space.
Symphony Investments, an entity controlled by Alabbar, signed a pact last November to form a 130 million euro ($139 million) joint venture with Italian online fashion retailer Yoox Net-A-Porter Group (YNAP).