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Thu 19 Dec 2019 09:17 AM

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Alabbar: Amazon, Jeff Bezos 'should go back to Seattle'

The Noon.con founder says it is his duty to make sure the region's e-commerce sector isn't dominated by foreign companies

Alabbar: Amazon, Jeff Bezos 'should go back to Seattle'

Noon’s founder Mohamed Alabbar believes it is his duty to not let the region’s fast-growing e-commerce sector be dominated by foreign players and that Amazon and its billionaire founder Jeff Bezos should “go back to Seattle”.

“My advice to them? I think they should go back to Seattle,” he was quoted as saying in an interview with WIRED magazine. “We want Noon to do well because we don’t want just one guy to sell baby milk to our kids. I will not allow that. No way will that ever happen. I don’t want one company to control the life of my people.”

Alabbar, who is also the chairman of Emaar Properties, the developer behind The Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa, launched Noon in 2017 as part of a $1 billion joint venture with Saudi Arabia’s state-owned Public Investment Fund.

Foreign powers 

“We owe it to 400 million Arabs that they go to the digital economy. I think it’s our duty; otherwise the Middle East will either be left behind, or will be occupied by foreign powers. These foreign powers are digital banks, digital companies, digital media—there’s no need for military,” he says.

“I am not a man driven by money, I am driven by wellbeing of my society. Otherwise, why should I do this? I’m making, every year, net $2 billion in my real estate business. Why should I do all this again? I have a duty. We have to have an e-commerce company. And it has to dominate. It has to.”

Amazon entered the Middle East market in 2017 when it bought Dubai-based retailer Souq for $583 million and later rebranded the UAE site as Amazon.ae.

IPO plans

Alabbar told Arabian Business in November 2018 Noon plans to float on the stock market in a global cross-listing within the next four to five years.

“This is an Arab company and the customers should enjoy the benefits, they should also have the chance to become shareholders. Listing the company is the least we can do,” he said.

Speaking at an event in September, he also said Noon was a young and small company at the moment but it was one of the most aggressive and dangerous brands in the competitive e-commerce sector.

“I want you to know one thing, we are young, we are small, but we are the most aggressive organisation born and I want you to know that… In this business, if you are not fast, if you are not aggressive or working 24 hours, working 7 days a week you don’t win… Probably one of the most dangerous companies in the e-commerce space is Noon… They are small but they are dangerous people,” he said in a speech on stage.

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