PayPal eyes 10% of MENA e-commerce market

Electronic payment network launches regional operations across seven MENA countries

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.

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Posted by: James Isett

It should be made knowledgeable to everyone who thinks that just because PayPal or the competitors are trying to make the portfolio sound huge merely by virtue of the manner in which customers get to a web site is what effects $ Vol and % Merchant pricing.

Thus said we will now see the competition get more straining by the month with no promise that all merchants will see business growth. This market is driven by consumers on the web site and the more on the web the fewer customers will become internet dependent on such merchants if they are not already doing commerce with them or look for them specifically.

It shall be known as things progress that the competition on the internet make PayPal, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft ride the knowledge of how the merchant money gets to them as customers.

The main reason internet $vol will grow is largely because it is remove POS and Mail Order Telephone Order $vol. What I am meaning to say is that all of the merchants better read it all well.

Posted by: Abdul Baqi

Its service is very irresponsive and no support you get from them while making payment hence we decide to not use it ,before its was good service.

Posted by:

Agree with the comment above, 1 million seems very low. But 500,000 of them in the UAE is rather impressive. Promising signs ahead for secure e-commerce experiences in the region. Good to see they recognize the value of having an operation in the region and the opportunities ahead.

Posted by: Shadi Halloun

1M is too low for 65M total internet users in the MENA region. I believe that after this deal the number of PayPal users should get much higher.
It's a first step to ease the monetizing of the Arabic traffic, and to get more users involved in buying and selling online.

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