The app will initially focus on three cities, namely Jeddah, Riyadh and Al Khobar, but it aims to cover the entire country by the end of the year.

Jojo Puthuparampil is a business news writer for Inc. Arabia.

Saudi Arabia-based hypermarket and supermarket chain Danube plans to launch a grocery e-commerce app that will employ up to 1,000 people in the kingdom.

The e-commerce platform is expected to go live next week, offering delivery of fresh products and multiple payment options.

The app will initially focus on three cities, namely Jeddah, Riyadh and Al Khobar, but it aims to cover the entire country by the end of the year.

The current e-commerce space has largely been used to buy consumer electronics, travel, and accessories or fashion, said Majed Al Tahan, managing director of the Danube App.

Buying groceries online is still a relatively untapped space, which the Danube app plans to redefine, Al Tahan said.

About 75% of the kingdom’s population has access to the internet and this is expected to grow to over 90% in no time, said Ahmad BinDawood, CEO of Danube.

There are reportedly over 22 million mobile phone users in the kingdom, BinDawood, said adding that the group plans to meet an unmet need and reach out to these users to offer them an online shopping experience.

For its new e-commerce venture, the company plans to hire over 1,000 Saudi employees, he said.

Danube, which operates and manages the first hypermarket in Saudi, was acquired by BinDawood superstores in 1998.

The two entities have a combined presence of 53 stores in Jeddah, Makkah, and Madinah.

However, Danube is now aiming to tap the growing demand in the e-commerce space, which is booming in the kingdom.

Danube’s move to launch the platform comes amid heightened activity in the e-commerce apace in the region.

Last month, Dubai’s Emaar Malls said it is buying a 51% stake in e-commerce fashion website Namshi.com for $151 million.

The deal is expected to provide much-needed support for Emaar Properties founder and chairman Dubai billionaire Mohamed Alabbar’s technology vehicle Noon.com.

This after, Jadopado, an online marketplace, was acquired by Alabbar’s technology fund.