By Lubna Hamdan
Giant Italian retailer will collaborate with Emaar chairman's e-commerce project Noon.com
Emaar Chairman Mohamed Alabbar and Yoox Net-A-Porter chief executive Federico Marchetti have signed a joint e-commerce venture through social smartphone application WhatsApp.
"Proof that we are living in a digital world is that Mohamed and I closed the deal on WhatsApp," said Marchetti at the 2016 Arabian Business Forum taking place in the Armani Hotel Dubai.
The executive heading the mega Italian e-commerce retailer will join hands with Alabbar on his new e-commerce venture Noon.com which is backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, a group of GCC investors and the Dubai businessman himself.
"We’re combining strengths of two leading players. We are the first movers in the region and we started to investigate the region a long time ago. We will provide Middle Eastern luxury customers with a fully localised experience. We will establish a Dubai-based entity next year so we can be close to customers, a local office, local customer care and communications team," said Marchetti.
Noon.com set to go live in January 2017 and will have an estimated 20 million products to sell - ten times more than Souq.com, the region's current biggest player - including fashion, food, and cars. It is also expected to offer more than the 15 million of total products on sale in Dubai’s biggest malls, according to Alabbar.
"I salute you for believing in the Middle East and believing in us. All of our competitors will look at us and say 'Wow.' So thank you for believing in the Middle East and thank you for believing in me," said Alabbar.
The joint venture will offer customers same-day delivery and localised offering. According to Marchetti, the Middle East represents one of the firm's brightest prospects, accounting for its fifth most important regions for high end retail.