|15 September, 2019

We can't let global giants take over our market: Alabbar

Noon.com founder and Emaar chairman says while e-commerce rises, brick-and-mortar stores are here to stay

Mohamed Alabbar, founder of noon.com and Chairman of Emaar.

Mohamed Alabbar, founder of noon.com and Chairman of Emaar.

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Mohamed Alabbar, founder of e-commerce platform Noon.com, on Sunday stressed that global giants should not be allowed to take over rising regional markets.

"In the region, we have a duty. We need to protect our region; we cannot let giant entities internationally to take over our market. the Middle East market of 400-million plus people without a big technology e-commerce company is not fair," Alabbar, who is also chairman of Emaar Properties, said.

Recently, Dubai has seen some of its rising giants acquired by global players, such as Uber buying Careem for Dh11 billion deal; Dubai Media City-based technology firm Media.net was sold for over Dh3.3 billion. Similarly, Amazon had acquired e-commerce platform Souq.com.

Alabbar was speaking at an event to share the details of Noon's journey.

"We have a duty to society and businesses. We are sitting in Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest tower, and that proved that we can do it. It is a shame that our children don't see us innovating and engage in technologies. We can't just sit out to be taken over," he said.

He pointed out that despite the growth of e-commerce, brick-and-mortar stores are here to stay.

"We are the new shopping malls. Those who will not get involved in e-shopping malls will have problems. For example, in a large global mall like The Dubai Mall, the maximum we reach is 240,000 visitors a day. On weekends, we go up to 300,000 visitors a day. But not all 300,000 people shop. But the amazing thing for digital platforms is that the numbers are many times to multiply that. The growth on traditional retail will improve 3-4 per cent a year but e-commerce malls have amazing growth trajectory. And it will continue to be," he said on Sunday evening.

He said the e-commerce penetration is very low in the Middle East at two per cent but it nearly 18-20 per cent in the Europe and other Western countries.

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