By Anil Bhoyrul
Business legends spotted together in Dubai Mall
They are already two of the world’s best known and most successful businessmen. But it appears Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Emaar chairman Mohamed Alabbar may soon have a lot more in common.
Sources have confirmed to Arabian Business that the two business legends were seen on Friday in Dubai Mall. Their meeting comes just 48 hours before Alabbar takes to the stage at the Dubai Opera On Sunday - where the Emaar chairman is widely expected to finally unveil details of a much anticipated e-commerce venture. His media invitation teasingly refers to a “game changing online shopping platform.”
Arabian Business first exclusively revealed in July this year Alabbar’s plans to create the “Alibaba of the Middle East” – his own gigantic e-commerce business. During a “Ramadan lecture” to an audience including the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Alabbar is understood to have suggested that by the end of 2016, the UAE will have seen the launch of an e-commerce company, a social media service, a modern online banking system and an online logistics company.
He also confirmed that $1bn had already been raised – and in July this year Alabbar led two investor groups in buying a combined 16.45 percent stake in Dubai-based courier Aramex. He also took a 4 percent stake in Yoox Net-a-Porter worth €100m ($110.1m)
With Alabbar on the verge of launching his mega e-commerce venture, the meeting with Bezos clearly has some significance. Amazon doesn’t have operations on the Middle East but their products are available here – and Bezos will indeed be keen to look for a partner with scale to enter this market.
However, Bezos – like Alabbar – doesn’t do small. In the e-commerce game, scale matters.
Both have a lot in common. They're visionaries, who dare to take calculated risks, and both men may ultimately aim to create a winning proposition – in terms of speed and ease of transactions, available goods and delivery times.
The invitation for Sunday’s event quite boldly proclaims the launch as a “Quantum leap in e-commerce”.
With Bezos and Alabbar involved, that could be such a wonderful thing to happen to consumers in this part of the world.