Ronaldo Mouchawar: How I created Souq.com

Meet Ronaldo Mouchawar, who runs the Middle East’s biggest home-grown website. With Souq.com expanding tenfold over the last two years alone, what does the all-conquering e-commerce giant have in store for the future?


Ronaldo Mouchawar co-founded Souq.com in 2005 alongside Jabbar Internet Group’s Samih Toukan and Hussam Khoury.

Ronaldo Mouchawar co-founded Souq.com in 2005 alongside Jabbar Internet Group’s Samih Toukan and Hussam Khoury.

Even that growth is being easily surpassed by Souq.com, which aims to beat that 60 percent “by two or three times”, Mouchawar says. The kind of growth that the site has been posting over the last couple of years might sound fantastic, but it also creates problems in terms of scalability and matching customer service with demand.

Mouchawar declines to talk about profits, pointing out instead that “margins are always a challenge because you are giving great value to the user.

“You also have to have the infrastructure, and the reason we go out to raise the capital is because the infrastructure needs to suit those very huge growth numbers,” he adds. “Some companies talk about growth rates in single- or double-digit terms on a yearly basis — we have to do that almost month in and month out.”

Right now, the platform is available in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Egypt, with a technical and development office in Jordan, and another technical back-up office in India. The focus is on continuing to build out those markets — after all, as Mouchawar points out, those four markets add up to some 120 million consumers — but more geographical expansion is on the way. Souq.com will be rolled out to Qatar and Bahrain “ideally within a quarter” with the plan to extend to Jordan and possibly Lebanon in the future.

When questioned as to how the site might expand even further in the future, the chief executive hints that the transactional experience his team has built up might be used to build up new brands outside Souq.com.

“We have a lot of know-how to add to the value chain,” Mouchawar says. “But the internet connects a lot of people, so maybe we don’t connect it with the brand, maybe it’s the know-how, the technology. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a replica of what we’re doing, it could be one of the layers that we have.

“Maybe payments could be extended, so airlines from the region could use our payment services, or something like that. There’s definitely room there, especially if you look at our investors, like Naspers, they are keen on e-commerce in the region and that sharing of know-how and capability allows you to think outside the box.”

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Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

Posted by: mohan

I continue to love the site, there is a good range of products available and decent prices.
never had any problems dealing with them.

Posted by: Syed Muhammad Hussain

I ordered laptop from them on 26th March and it is 13th April now, neither I have received the laptops nor my money back.

I have called them several times but to no avail.

Posted by: Raz

If everyone goes back to COD payments, e-commerce won't develop in this region. I would totally remove COD kinds of transactions if I were souq.com.

Posted by: turk971

I suggest never use credit or debit card when purchasing online. Always opt for COD (Cash On Delivery) that way you don't need to worry when the goods never reach you. This is how I do my online purchasing all the time.

Posted by: Rob Jones

Are people still using souq.com?
When it first launched it was amazing, it was made for the people, for bidding wars and great deals...
Now it seems it only wants money. And it is quite obvious that people no longer visit the site, with all their crazy deals being advertised to get a new phone or tv at a fraction of the cost, if they register. What they dont tell you, is that there is only 1 of the product, and chances are, when you log on to buy it, its automatically 'sold out'...
Didnt souq.com recently get its 3rd or 4th injection of capital to keep it from going under?

Posted by: AWSF

correct..before it was great then they have become pro MONEY not pro PEOPLE! i recently click to one of their ad "FREE DELVIERY" amount to 54 only and they punched in 38aed "SHIPPING FREE" what made it worst you have to pay first the WHOLE amount then they will credit it back "GOD KNOWS WHEN.." the when you try to have it debited back to your account only by 10's denominations..so bye-bye 1-9 amount..

the other one is same like you said a 499 ~ 40' LG TV then when you click it " the qty you can purchase is limited to 1 ONLY" 1 just clicked "1" "ONLY".

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