World energy investment in 2016 down 12 percent to $1.7 trillion, says IEA

Workers walk past solar panels in Shandong province of China. The share of clean-energy spending reached 43 percent of total investment, a record high. (Reuters)
Updated 11 July 2017

World energy investment in 2016 down 12 percent to $1.7 trillion, says IEA

DUBAI: Global investment in energy fell for a second consecutive year as higher spending on energy efficiency and electricity networks was more than offset by a continued fall in upstream oil and gas spending, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Tuesday.
IEA in its annual World Energy Investment report said that energy companies last year spent $1.7 trillion (SR6.37 trillion) – about 2.2 percent of the global domestic product but 12 percent lower than the 2015 level – for new power plants, grid network upgrades, fossil fuel exploration as well as clean electricity generation.
Clean energy investment reached a record 43 percent of the aggregate supply spending, the report added.
“Our analysis shows that smart investment decisions are more critical than ever for maintaining energy security and meeting environmental goals,” said Dr. Fatih Birol, the executive director of IEA.

“As the oil and gas industry refocuses on shorter-cycle projects, the need for policymakers to keep an eye on the long-term adequacy of supply is more important. Even with ambitious climate-mitigation goals, current investment activity in oil and gas will have to rise from its current slump.”
“The good news is that in spite of low energy prices, energy efficiency spending is rising thanks to strong government policies in key markets,” he added.
The energy watchdog however warned that “falling investment points to a risk of market tightness and undercapacity at some point down the line,” though this may not happen in the short term with the world now experiencing an oil glut and some markets having excess electricity production.
Global electricity investment was nearly flat at $718 billion, while investment in renewable energy power capacity fell 3 percent to $297 billion.
IEA however said that while renewable investment is also 3 percent lower compared with five years ago, it would generate 35 percent more power on cost efficiencies and technology improvements in solar PV and wind.

 


Saudi consumers give online retailer AliExpress boost in Middle East market

Updated 13 November 2019

Saudi consumers give online retailer AliExpress boost in Middle East market

  • AliExpress currently delivers to more than 200 countries and can be used in 18 languages
  • Around 60 percent of the consumers are below the age of 35, with 51 percent being female

DUBAI: Due to the increasing amount of purchases from the region, the Chinese e-commerce AliExpress has started offering several new services.
The growing demand came specifically from Saudi Arabia and the UAE, where the retailer started offering consolidation of orders for cheaper delivery and cash on delivery as a payment option.
These services were tailored to consumers from the region, as the company knew “cash on delivery is very popular in Saudi and UAE,” according to AliExpress’s Middle East head, Matt Zhang.
The retailer, which is under the Chinese Alibaba multinational conglomerate, is also trying to expand its provided local services.
“We have an overseas warehouse in Dubai. We are trying to open a warehouse in Saudi. We are in the process of all the legal and facility planning,” Zhang said.
Sellers will have the chance to use this facility, which is usually stocked with high-demand items, to decrease delivery times.
They also use the local delivery company Aramex in Saudi Arabia and the UAE to decrease the amount of time required for orders to reach consumers.
“Cainiao works with local partners” to enhance the buying experience, Zhang added. Cainiao is a technological company and the logistics arm of Alibaba group, providing the various businesses under the conglomerate with a variety of solutions locally and globally.
All of these additions follow AliExpress’s main strategy to expand in the region, which is to provide “a good selection, more competitive price and good service,” Zhang said.
The e-commerce company has been working with a marketing agency for the region as well, as they believe they need “more local insights,” he added.
For consumers in Saudi Arabia, their top three categories for shopping are consumer electronics, home and garden, and phones and accessories.
One of the reasons why consumers choose to buy such items from AliExpress is the value for money they get in exchange.
Buyers and sellers are now able to skip the tedious process of export and import through warehouses and distribution centers, which shortens the whole value chain and provides the same goods for a smaller amount of money.
Another interesting defining factor of consumer behavior in Saudi Arabia is the tendency to explore more options under each category compared to other countries.
The top three categories make up less than 40 percent of the ordered products, leaving the remaining more than 60 percent scattered over a long list of sub-categories.
On top of AliExpress, Alibaba is penetrating the regional market in other ways too.
If you have noticed the recent 11.11 sales and offers, they have been inspired by a decade-long shopping festival in China.
Although 11.11 is just starting to bloom in the region, it is a long-established event in China featuring a variety of entertainment and shopping events.
The famous US singer, Taylor Swift, performed at Shanghai’s Mercedes-Benz Arena during this year’s gala event for the shopping festival.
Several local retailers offered discounted items, ranging from baby care products, to groceries, to electronics and clothes.
At the end of the 24-hour shopping festival, Alibaba’s gross merchandise value (GMV) surpassed $38 billion, according to the company.
Alibaba reported that over 215 leading international brands, like Lancome and Shiseido, debuted one million new products, with over 240 11.11 themed items, during the 2019 festival.
The conglomerate is currently focusing on new retail in China, or as they have explained, an offline and online shopping experience. Tmall customers can view products online, and either buy them through delivery of find the nearest outlet to check the items in real life.
They are also undertaking new ventures in the country, such as the Flyzoo hotel in Hangzhou, which is fully automated and is operated by robots.
AliExpress currently delivers to more than 200 countries and can be used in 18 languages. Around 60 percent of the consumers are below the age of 35, with 51 percent being female.
Currently, the countries with the highest GMV are Russia, Spain, France, Poland and Brazil.
The retailer is also working on offering more international businesses to operate on their website and sell products. The service has already been launched in Russia and Turkey.