PIF, Dubai businessman Alabbar launch $1bn e-commerce platform

Noon.com will launch operations in Saudi Arabia and the UAE in January, according to Mohammed Alabbar.
Updated 14 November 2016
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PIF, Dubai businessman Alabbar launch $1bn e-commerce platform

JEDDAH: The online shopping experience in the Middle East is set to forever change with the launch of Noon, described as the region’s largest-ever e-commerce company, in January.
Noon is designed to be a driver of innovation, which will offer a vast product selection and fast delivery across all categories.
With an initial investment of $1 billion, Noon will launch in the Saudi and UAE markets, and will soon cover the entire Middle East region. 
Noon aims to grow online sales in the region from 2 percent of the total market ($3 billion), to 15 percent ($70 billion) within a decade. 
Emaar Properties Chairman Mohamed Alabbar, who is leading the venture with prominent GCC investors, described Noon as “nothing less than a quantum leap in retail in the region, and the world.” 
Alabbar added: “We come with the endurance to build a customer-centric business for the long-term. For us, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. I am pleased to announce that the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia will take 50 percent equity in Noon. In addition, the head office of Noon will be based in Riyadh.”
“With Noon, we are offering the most customer-centric ecommerce experience available anywhere,” he said. “In one move, we are launching a future-focused company, which is the biggest online shopping platform ever seen in the region. Noon is a company born in the Middle East and serves customers in the Middle East.”
Noon is claims to bring a number of impressive firsts for the region. It will have the biggest selection, with 20 million products covering fashion, books, home and garden, electronics, sports and outdoor, health and beauty, personal care, toys, kids and baby products, among others.
It will have more than 10 million square feet of warehousing. At 3.5 million square feet, the UAE fulfillment center will cover more than 60 football fields.
Same-day delivery through Noon Transportation, an in-house express delivery service, and NoonPay, a secure and innovative payment gateway, are its other features.
Noon’s CEO Fodhil Benturquia said a commitment to customer-centric service and innovative technology will be key to Noon’s success. “The customer is the purpose of our being, and we are here to win their hearts and their trust. Our customer experience will be driven by state-of-the-art technology that will power everything from product discovery to purchase and delivery.”
Noon, through its mobile app and noon.com website, will be an end-to-end e-commerce retailer. “We want to be the partner of choice for sellers, whether they’re big or small. We invite them to be part of our ecosystem, working together to change the online shopping landscape for the Middle East customer.”
“Our team not only comes with exceptional backgrounds, but also with an all-consuming passion to change the way things are done,” he added.
Noon boasts that its team has a wealth of e-commerce experience earned at sector leaders, including Amazon, Apple, PayPal, eBay, Google, Flipkart and others.


Some US manufacturers feeling China trade war pinch

Updated 16 July 2018
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Some US manufacturers feeling China trade war pinch

WASHINGTON: Some US manufacturers are delaying investments and raising prices as President Donald Trump escalates trade wars with key US economic partners but most companies report no change, according to a survey released Monday.
The National Association for Business Economics also found in its monthly report that members unanimously expected economic growth to continue in the next year, with most forecasting inflation adjusted growth of more than two percent.
“Labor market conditions are tight with skilled labor shortages driving firms to raise pay, increase training and consider additional automation,” Sara Rutledge, chair of the quarterly survey, said in a statement.
Companies reported rising profits and higher sales expectations. But despite the scarcity of workers, a survey index of wage growth slowed after hitting a record in April.
The survey, which polled 98 economists at private companies and trade associations, also found signs of rising prices, a possible sign that inflation and Trump’s new import duties were filtering into the economy.
An index of prices charged hit a 12-year record, jumping 14 points, while a measure of materials costs hit a seven-year record, soaring 15 points.
Trump this week began the process to impose tariffs on up to $200 billion in additional imports from China, adding to the levies imposed on $34 billion in goods which took effect earlier this month.
Economists say this could boost inflation, which already is beginning to rise after a decade of economic recovery, albeit gradually.
Still, a majority in the NABE survey, 65 percent, said trade concerns were not causing their companies to change plans for investment, hiring or pricing.
Things were chillier in the goods producing sector, however, with only 37 percent reporting no change.
Among manufacturers, 26 percent said they were delaying planned investments and 16 percent reported having to raise prices.
And, as the same survey had found April, most respondents, or 65 percent, said they were not changing plans to hire or invest because of December’s sweeping corporate tax cuts.