CEO says it'll launch in Saudi Arabia by the end of the year.

Noon, the new e-commerce platform backed by Mohamed Alabbar, and the Saudi Public Investment Fund, will launch in Saudi Arabia before the end of this year, according to its CEO, Faraz Khalid.

Launched earlier this month in the UAE, Noon has an initial capital outlay of $1 billion and is headquartered in Riyadh and has already put in place a dedicated distribution hub, distribution channels and a secure payment gateway for serving Saudi customers, it said in a statement.

Noon has a dedicated delivery fleet in Saudi Arabia, with professionals who know the market, and also offers flexible payment solutions, said Khalid.

“Noon is working not only with large Saudi retailers but also SMEs and start-ups so that we remain connected with our audience—and deliver the personalized experience they seek.”

Khalid said that the MENA region, specifically, GCC has the perfect environment for the next era of growth in e-commerce.

“While online sales are just two percent of the total retail in the Middle East, the market is fast evolving; an AT Kearney report states that online shopping will grow from $5.3 billion in 2015 to $20 billion by 2020.”

He said the digital savvy youth population, and the high levels of internet and smartphone penetration are the drivers of growth for the e-commerce market. 

Khalid also claimed that Noon has created new jobs for Saudi talents and will focus on building the Kingdom’s SME sector.