By Parag Deulgaonkar
JadoPado founder Omar Kassim, who stepped down as CTO at noon.com, said he may re-enter online business
The Middle East’s e-commerce market is set to become highly competitive this year, as US-based Amazon ramps up its operations post Souq.com buyout. The online market is also expected see some “big” Chinese players look to enter the region, according to former CEO of JadoPado.
On Sunday, Omar Kassim, founder of the Dubai-based e-commerce website JadoPado, quit his new post of chief technology officer at noon.com, the $1 billion (AED3.67bn) e-commerce site due to be launched later this year by Mohammed Alabbar and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.
Noon.com acquired JadoPado this month, after a failed bid for souq.com, and took on its outgoing CEO as chief technology officer.
“I decided to step down from my role at noon. I wish the entire team the very best and hope they go onto building a world class product and organisation,” Kassim said in an interview with Arabian Business on Tuesday
He said the e-commerce market in the Middle East is set to become very busy, with major players from all over the world eyeing up the potentially lucrative market in the region.
“The biggest challenge that the region’s e-commerce sector faces is the impending entry of Amazon as they ramp up their operations after their acquisition of Souq," said Kassim.
"There are also a handful of Chinese players who are ramping up existing operations, whilst others are figuring out how to enter the regional space.”
Without disclosing names, he said these companies are the “usual suspects and perhaps a few that one wouldn’t expect.”
While Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has not confirmed any plans to enter the local e-commerce business, its subsidiary Aliyun offers cloud-based system integration services to enterprises and government bodies in MENA region from Dubai.
former JadoPado staff members continue to work on the noon.com project.
“JadoPado has been acquired and the JadoPado team has been integrated into ongoing projects such as Noon.com and will also be involved in exciting new projects across the digital spectrum in areas such as marketplaces, food commerce, payments and logistics,” he said.
He did not rule out plans to re-enter the e-commerce business, saying, “I have no plans just yet, but I'm working on what comes next. Perhaps, e-commerce.”
According to Frost & Sullivan, the total value of e-commerce is likely to reach $10bn (AED36.7bn) in 2018 from $2.5bn (AED9.17bn) in 2014.For all the latest tech news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.