Payments firm PayPal expects to sign up to 25,000 merchants and capture 10 percent of the MENA region’s e-commerce customers in the next two years following the launch of its local operation, its regional managing director told Arabian Business.
PayPal, which is now available in seven markets across the Middle East and North Africa, currently has 1m customers in the region but expects to grow “exponentially” following the launch on Wednesday, said Elias Ghanem.
“Today, we already have 1m customers in the MENA region, half of them being in the UAE, and there are 110m internet users so the potential is quite exponential,” he said.
“We believe that the penetration today is limited and we expect to have 10 percent of the e-commerce within the next two years,” he added.
The electronic payment network, which charges merchants a percentage of the purchase price, said it will look to sign up between 20,000 and 25,000 merchants in the region.
“Stats recently show that only 15 percent of the region has an online presence… so you can imagine how the potential is huge to the penetration of PayPal and the usage of the online sites. We are looking to have 20-25,000 merchants in the next few years,” said Ghanem.
PayPal, which was acquired by eBay in 2002, is facing increasing competition from startups such as Stripe, Braintree and WePay, which also provide tools and services for sellers to accept payments online.
The California-based firm, which had 113.2m active accounts as of June 30, is looking at alternative ways to boost its business.
The firm in August announced a payment processing deal with US-based Discover Financial Services that will enable PayPal customers to use their accounts at more than 7m merchant locations that accept Discover.
PayPal, founded in 1998 and sold to EBay for US$1.18bn four years later, on Wednesday also announced an agreement with Aramex, the largest courier company in the Middle East and North Africa.
The deal will make overseas transactions easier for Middle East customers using Aramex’s Shop & Ship service.
“There are two major problems for people here who want to shop overseas; one is the credit card is not accepted and we’ve solved it by adding it to the PayPal account and the second problem is merchants around the world don’t want to ship back to the Middle East,” said Ghanem.
“With this partnership consumers will have an address in the US where all of their goods purchased will be shipped to and Aramex ensures the goods are delivered back,” he added.